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Follow That Map!: A First Book of Mapping Skills Hardcover – February 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—In this clever introduction, Sally and her four friends are looking for her missing cat and dog. The simple text is accompanied by a colorful map that uses symbols to identify places such as the library. Next, the youngsters explore the park, and the map shows how to follow a route. They continue their search in the city, the countryside, and eventually across the world and the solar system. On the way, a different type of map—for example, weather, topographical, and treasure—is featured on each spread and explained. The idea works well for the first few pages but falls apart as the children go further and further afield. However, the information is solid, and readers will enjoy looking for the animals, who are hiding somewhere in each map. Back matter includes instructions for creating a map of a bedroom.—Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN END
Sally and friends are playing in her backyard when they notice that her dog and cat, Max and Ollie, are missing. Determined to find them, they run through their neighborhood, the park, and the zoo; venture into the country and to a tropical island; and finally travel around the world and into space before locating the animals in the backyard. The fanciful story is less important than the overhead views of the search, which create maplike scenes of the children searching across land, sea, and space. Map-related information appears in bold type on each spread. Younger children will enjoy finding Ollie and Max in each cartoon-style picture, but older ones can pick up quite a bit about maps, including their purpose, use of symbols, and terminology, e.g., compass rose and legend. An appended project shows children how to create maps of their bedrooms. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
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Top Customer Reviews
Ritchie begins by introducing young readers to the characters, and a diagram that explains the common features found on a map, When Pedro notices that Sally's dog Max, and her cat Ollie are "missing", the children are off on an imaginary voyage that will take them around the world and back in search of the missing pets.
At each stop along the way, new mapping skills are taught by placing the characters directly on landscapes that appear as detailed maps from the overhead, offset perspective the bold illustrations are drawn from. This perspective is consistent throughout, even when no mapping skills are being taught, adding to a consistent feel throughout the book.
As the children scour the neighborhood for Max and Ollie, legend skills are introduced, with an interactive question to engage children. At each progressive stop additional skills are folded in, sometimes in combination with each other. When the children strike out through the city in search of the zoo, using a compass rose is the main focus, with legend skills also included.
When I sat down to work through Follow That Map! with my daughter it seemed almost too easy - the learning that came from reading the simple story and asking her the included questions was effortless and fun for both of us. The introductory level skills explored are: legends, trails, compass rose, scale bar, weather map, following directions with the help of a map, topographical maps, landmarks, and world maps. A simple map of the planets in our solar system is also included, as well as instructions on how to create a simple, yet accurate map of a room in your home with a sheet of graph paper.
Incredibly appealing to young children visually, the cartoon-like illustrations fill most of each two-page spread, with a small amount of text, plenty of white space, and a large font for early readers. Written for four to seven-year-olds, Follow That Map! serves as a geography primer of sorts - an easily accessible sample to pique the interest of young learners, and to familiarize them with tools that they will use for the rest of their lives. The bright drawings, game-like activities, and subtle humor encourage repeat readings, browsing, and informal map-play times guided by improvised questions.