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USA Find It! Review by Kris Price

The Learning Journey International
4727 E. Union Hills Dr., Ste. 300
Phoenix, AZ 85050
877-839-3969
http://www.thelearningjourney.com/

USA Find It! is a 50-piece geographical search and discover floor puzzle. The sturdy box states that the puzzle is safety tested for ages 3+, while the puzzle itself is recommended for ages 6+. Although a product geared toward early elementary students, my 11-year-old daughter exclaimed, "Cool! Can I put it together?" after I opened the package and revealed what was inside. She promptly sat down on the floor, dumped out the pieces and put it together. The puzzle has now been in the same spot for over a week, and my 10-year-old son has joined in the fun getting out his toy trains and "riding" across the USA.

The finished size of the puzzle is about 24 inches by 17 inches, so it is a nice-sized puzzle. The pieces are large, making it easy for younger children to handle them. After putting the puzzle together, the child can study the states and where they are in relation to each other. Each state has at least one picture associated with it so that the child can learn a bit more about that state. For example, the Space Shuttle is in Florida, and the Alamo is in Texas. However, not all of the states have easily recognizable pictures. I still don't understand why there is a windmill in the state of Virginia! Around the border of the puzzle are the same pictures that are featured in the states--this allows the child to play a matching game by himself or with a friend, sibling, or parent.

Other countries featured on the puzzle are Canada and Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are noted also. There is one problem, however. The major body of water that is on the west coast is ALSO noted as the Atlantic Ocean, NOT the Pacific Ocean! Oops! There is one feature of the puzzle that I didn't like. We all know that maps of the USA often show Hawaii and Alaska as part of our country, but not in their natural geographic position. This puzzle is no exception, and that's fine, except for the fact that the block with Alaska in it is set atop the country of Mexico, and it looks like Alaska is next to Canada, which is next to Mexico! It appears this way because both of these foreign countries are colored a light beige. The puzzle could be made less "puzzling" if these two countries were colored in two different colors.

Other than these two problems, the puzzle is easy to put together, vividly colored, and overall entertaining. Children can get out their toy planes, trains, and automobiles and drive around the USA and learn some geography at the same time!

Product review by Kris Price, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006

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