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The Scrambled States of America

The Scrambled States of America

4.3 14
by Laurie Keller, Lorelei King (Read by), Oliver Wyman (Read by)

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Packed with madcap humor and whimsical illustrations, this quirky story will make learning geography as much fun as taking a vacation.


Packed with madcap humor and whimsical illustrations, this quirky story will make learning geography as much fun as taking a vacation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It'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 Sprinkle
The 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 Journal
Gr 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 Reviews
Imagine 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.

From the Publisher

“Charming.” —The New York Times

“It'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.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Will elicit laughs from all those who thought geography was boring.” —School Library Journal

“A wacky and absolutely painless look at geography.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition, Book & CD set
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.40(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.20(d)
AD510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Laurie Keller is a designer and fine artist, and the illustrator of Marty Frye, Private Eye, by Janet Tashjian. Ms. Keller makes her picture-book debut with The Scrambled States of America.

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Scrambled States of America 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Having just returned from a cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to Montana, the kids were super excited to help me review THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA. The package comes with both a paperback copy of the story as well as an unabridged reading of the book. The CD has a read-along section with chimes to indicate when to turn the page, and also an uninterrupted version of the story. No matter which option you choose, be it reading the book, just listening to the story, or a combination of both, everyone will come away amused, entertained, and yes, I'll admit, a little bit educated. The story is told with different voices to take on the personalities of the States. Kansas, being landlocked in the middle of the country, is bored. With the assistance of its neighbor, Nebraska, the two states decide to throw a party and invite all the other States. The party is a brilliant success, and Idaho and Virginia suggest that all of the States change places. Well, they all agree and soon, Florida is where Minnesota used to be and complaining of the cold. And Minnesota winds up with sunburn, having moved to the south. Arizona doesn't like being on the Atlantic Ocean because it messes up her hair. And poor Alaska, used to being alone, is being crowded by both Oklahoma and Michigan. Poor Kansas, having complained about being in the middle of the country, is now all alone out where Hawaii used to be. Things are worse rather than better. A very fun and at times silly story, the narrators bring life to all the States and their interactions. If following with the book, there are many side illustrations that the narrators also share. The story goes quickly and is one that can be listened to over and over again. In reading the book, the vibrant colors and illustrations are eye-catching and informative. Plus, my 9-year-old son tried to trick me up when testing me on the states and their capitals that are added at the back of the book.
morgangirl74 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book for teaching children about the states.  We give every state a different voice and make up other silly things for the states to do.  Also recommend the game for older elementary age.  My 9 yo loves it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fortheloveofliteracy More than 1 year ago
When I read this book for the first time, I was so stricken by the creativity of the author to come up with the main idea for this books story line. Not only is it a great story, it can help kids learn about the 50 states and where they are located. The DVD of the story read by Chevy Chase is wonderful as well. If you have a child that is having difficulty learning the states and where they are located, this book may be what helps them memorize the information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story and illustrations of the states interacting with one another is great. My daughter loved this book when she was beginning elementary school to help her learn the individual states in a fun way; I recently bought a coy for my nephew.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son was 4 when we got this book and puzzle and it jump started an obsession with states and capitals. He learned them all really quickly and continued to want more books about states. 'Scrambled States' gives all the states a personality, making them much more real and interesting to young children. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 6 year old and not only does he love it but my 3 year old does too. Both are able to identify alot of states. My 3 year old brings the book to me to read when his brother is at school. We also have the game and love that too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 4 yo to help explain what a 'state' was and what the 'United States' was and, boy, does it fulfill ALL my expectations! It's educational but, more importantly, it's fun to for both the audience AND the reader. My goal wasn't to teach him to recognize the states by their outlines but just by reading the book he knows close to 20. We also love the Great States Jr game.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We borrowed this book from the library and my 3 year old loved it. We've borrowed it so many times that we are finally just buying a copy. He has even learned some of the states and their nicknames!! This book is entertaining for kids of all ages!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We bought the book for our 7 year old niece but our 2.5 yr old daughter picked it up and it has become her favorite book. SHe is now 4 and loves geography ... we read the book almost every night.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful book for children. The illustrations are unique and fun. This would be an excellent book to use in an introductory lesson about the United States. Also, in the back of the book is an illustration of every state and a couple of facts about that state.