Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review - Follow That Map!

Follow That Map!: A First Look at Mapping Skills, written and illustrated by Scot Ritchie, provides readers with an introduction to map skills while whisking them off on an adventure to find some missing pets.

The Table of Contents identifies the 14 double-page spreads that take kids through this problem-solving adventure. The book opens with a Getting Started spread. It begins this way.

Do you know how to find a hidden treasure? Do you know how far your house is from the candy store? Do you know the way to your favorite ride at the amusement park? It's easy! Join the friends below and follow that map!
This text is accompanied by a simple definition and a drawing of a map that contains a number of features that are highlighted and defined, including a compass rose, landmark, symbol, legend, routes, and a scale bar.

The next double-page spread presents the problem that begins the map-reading adventure.
Sally and her friends are playing in her backyard. Pedro notices that Sally's dog, Max, and her cat, Ollie, are missing.

Where have Max and Ollie gone? The five friends decide to find out!
Each stop along the way presents a map, a question, and some helpful information. Here is an example from the spread "In the City."
No luck on the trail. Yulee suggest going to the city zoo. Maybe Max and Ollie are visiting the animals.

Martin is getting close to the zoo. Which direction is he running?

The compass rose on a map shows you directs such as north, south, east and west.
I'm not sure what the motivation for answering the questions will be, but as a part of lesson on mapping these will be helpful tools for teachers.

Readers are introduced to 10 sights and a variety of maps along the way, including a weather map, treasure map, physical map, world map, and more. The maps are colorful, interesting, well captioned, and will be interesting for kids to explore. I did have one area of concern and that is in regards to the physical map. On the page it is called a topographical map and accompanied by this definition.
A topographical map shows the natural features of a landscape. You can use this kind of map to find rolling hills, low-lying lakes or high mountains.
The map that accompanies this text is the one on the cover of the book. My problem is not with the definition, but with the map itself and the title of the map. True topographic maps use contour lines to show the shape and elevation of the earth's surface. This map does not have these lines. That's why I referred to this map as a physical map. To avoid confusion later a teacher would likely need to explain this distinction and perhaps show examples of both topographic and physical maps of an area.

The book wraps up with the kids returning home to find the missing pets asleep under a tree. The final spread leads readers through the process of creating their own maps. Teachers will find the learning resource material (pdf) for this book to a source of useful ideas and classroom activities.

I generally liked this book, though I thought the inclusion of the map of the planets to be a bit over the top, though young readers will find it fun to look at and think about. the introductory pages alone make this one worthwhile for the clear and concise way maps are presented.

Book: Follow That Map!: A First Book of Mapping Skills
Author/Illustrator: Scot Ritchie
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: K-3
Source of Book: Review copy received from Raab Associates.

1 comment:

  1. This looks great! I really struggle with map skills for first graders so I'm going to have to give this a try. Thanks for the tip!