The Scrambled States of Americaby Laurie Keller, Lorelei King, Oliver Wyman
Packed with madcap humor and whimsical illustrations, this quirky story will make learning geography as much fun as taking a vacation.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIt's hard to imagine a more engaging (or comical) way to learn the 50 states and their locations than in this auspicious debut from Keller. Dorothy may have thought there's no place like home when she clicked her red ruby slippers, but her native state's wanderlust starts all the trouble here. Kansas is bored ("All day long we just sit here in the middle of the country. We never GO anywhere. we never DO anything") and drafts best friend Nebraska into the cause of stirring things up. Soon they're throwing a potluck party for all the states (the spread includes "Iowa Corn Surprise" and "Boston Baked Beans") and everyone delights in the idea of seeing another part of the country. Keller bestows a unique personality onto each of the states, yet keeps them true to their national identity. Kansas gets to take exotic Hawaii's place ("Aloha, world!"), Wisconsin packs up its famous cheese, Nevada and Mississippi fall in love ("Do you want to become MRS.issippi?" Nevada asks), and in a subtle lesson, Maryland places the Washington Monument and Capitol building carefully in a suitcase ("Are you o.k. in there Mr. President?"). Keller cleverly illustrates the chaos that ensues when the states cross country (e.g., the displaced Great Lakes ask, "Um... where did Michigan go?"). Soon the gang get homesick for their native lands, and New York hails a taxi home, California flies west in a plane, while a hitchhiking Connecticut cops a ride with Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maine. Readers will unwittingly learn more than they bargained for about the (finally) United States, while poring over the endless witty remarks exchanged over state lines. (PW best book of 1998)
Publishers Weekly"Keller endows each of the 50 states with a unique personality and, as all of them develop a case of wanderlust, she presents geography lessons as clever quips exchanged across state lines," said PW in our Best Books citation. Ages 4-9. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Melinda Medley SprinkleThe fifty states of America are bored with their normal positions on the map. They are depressed because they never get to go anywhere or see anything except their neighboring states. Uncle Sam tells this whimsical story as the states devise a plan that will change everything, including their location. The states throw the first annual states party, and everyone is invited. The big event soon arrives and all the states mingle and get to know each other. Virginia and Idaho create a plan to switch places, and before the affair is over, all the states decide to swap spots. They are finally going to venture forth to other parts of the country, but there is always a price to pay for happiness. At first, everyone is pleased with their new locations, but then each state begins to realize that nothing is the way they thought it was going to be. Florida was too cold up north, Kansas was surrounded by water, and nature seemed to place a damper on every state. There was only one alternative. You guessed it! They must return to their correct spot on the map. This unusual story introduces children to all of the 50 states in a humorous and comical way. Each page is packed full of state and geography facts. It also is a lovely read-aloud for children who are just learning to identify the 50 states of the USA. A full-color map and state fact pages are also included.
School Library JournalGr 3-5-A geography lesson par excellence, this clever picture book also offers great extension opportunities for the classroom. Through the voice of Uncle Sam, Keller suggests that the individual states of America have become tired of their physical positions and bored with their contiguous partners. So they decide to switch: Arizona, for example, trades places with South Carolina, Florida with Minnesota, and Kansas with Hawaii. Before long, however, they discover, as Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz, that there's no place like home, and they all return, amid much mayhem, to their original spots. In following their journeys, children will not only become involved in their stories but will also learn a lot about the "the good old U.S. of A." Keller's imaginative story, her pop-art illustrations that sprawl in and around the text, and her amusing asides will have kids quickly chiming in with sayings of their own. The clever personifications of the states will stimulate students to research the individual characteristics of their own homes, as well as those of the other states. A graphic fact chart is appended along with a montage of funny cartoons that show mixed-up sites and mascots, as Kansas sunflowers cross the Golden Gate Bridge, Florida oranges race Kentucky Derby horses, and the Statue of Liberty greets the faces on Mt. Rushmore.-Barbara Elleman, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Kirkus ReviewsImagine the states, Kansas, California, Ohio, and all the rest, as people with toothy grins, ping-pong balls for eyes, pipe cleaner limbs, and full-blown personalities. Imagine, then, that they get together at a party and decide to switch places on the map. In this amusing spoof, Kansas wakes up one morning saying, "I'm not feeling happy at all!" and starts the whole thing. Florida goes to Minnesota, California goes to Wisconsin, Nevada and Mississippi fall in love. Then the trouble starts: Alaska, who had missed company, feels claustrophobic among other states; Kansas finds his place in the middle of the ocean to be a bit too quiet; Minnesota, in Florida's spot, forgets to pack suntan lotion; and so on. Soon the states are rushing back to their original spots with sighs of relief. Keller, in her first book pushes a silly idea, to great lengths, and will elicit laughs from all those who thought geography was boring. The states are colorful, boastful, belligerent, and charming, in collage illustrations that are full of spontaneous asides and intriguing labels. The states appear in a final gallery, with a few statistics to square off the whole funny enterprise.
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