I selected this to read with my 12-and-9-year-old boys while simultaneously reading Bruce Feiler's Walking the Bible with my teenage daughters, hoping...moreI selected this to read with my 12-and-9-year-old boys while simultaneously reading Bruce Feiler's Walking the Bible with my teenage daughters, hoping it would be a similar learning experience. While I found Walking the Bible to be a fascinating vicarious journey that filled me with spirituality and wonder, A Child's Geography left me feeling remote from the places described.
While we did learn some from this book, the style and format made our geography education difficult. The maps and pictures in the book are not very good and are all too small. Voskamp begins each section by relating the place to be discussed to a place already familiar to her but not the reader, which we found distracting. Why introduce us to an unfamiliar place as a way of trying to help us relate to another unfamiliar location? Each country also has pictures of a child that I presume must be from that country, but the author never explains that, so it just added more busyness and distractions to an already-busy book. She invited the reader to pretend to be on a magic carpet or on a guided tour, but her unengaging descriptions left us at home on our sofa.
Her theology also felt remote to us, even though we are religious. In describing the "fairy chimneys" in Cappadocia, she writes, "Finally, He sculpts a fairy chimney when a small cap of the original basalt sits atop a cone of tuff. Like when you don a cap, God leaves a cap atop the cone to protect it from eroding or weathering away." I see the wonder of God's creations as well, but I don't picture Him sculpting rock formations individually.
I think the author tried to do go too many directions at once with the book while failing to engage us with the stories of places that have connected men with God for centuries.(less)
The book begins with a Cottonwood tree springing up atop a butte along the Santa Fe trail in the desert, an unlikely location, and growing under the p...moreThe book begins with a Cottonwood tree springing up atop a butte along the Santa Fe trail in the desert, an unlikely location, and growing under the protection of a Native American boy. It began to drag in the middle because it lost the human element of compelling characters we could care about, and I thought we wouldn't enjoy it as much as we did Holling's other book, Paddle to the Sea. However, once Jed and Buck, two frontiersmen, found the tree, the story picked up. The Cottonwood died, and Jed fashioned a yoke from its wood for the head oxen in their wagon train. We ended up loved it. I consider it a great choice for teaching the geography of the midwestern to southwestern United States along the Santa Fe Trail, the history of the Santa Fe Trail, Plains Indians, the hunting of bison, and wagon trains. We are going through Holling's books one at a time, and I love his fictional stories and detailed, educational illustrations that teach much about the geography and history of the United States.(less)
I purchased this from Veritas Press for use as curriculum for first grade geography. Mr. Latitude and Mr. Longitude teach Mr. Tardy about maps when he...moreI purchased this from Veritas Press for use as curriculum for first grade geography. Mr. Latitude and Mr. Longitude teach Mr. Tardy about maps when he loses his way and stumbles into their office. The storybook itself, while fun, does not do a lot of teaching. It briefly mentions directions on a map, parallels,meridians, landmarks, the continents, and other things, but used by itself, the educational value would be limited, as each gets only a cursory explanation. After realizing this, I purchased the accompanying workbook, and it contributes what the book lacks. Among other activities, children can make some of their own maps, color each of the seven continents a different color, and select and draw landscapes on a map of the United States. It has about a month's worth of material for a brief daily geography lesson, and has served us well as we prepare to study the geography of the United States for the rest of this school year with my 2nd grade son and pre-K daughter. (less)