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The World: Reference Maps and Forms Review by Cindy West

Jo Ellen Moore and Sandy Johnson
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940-5746

With 92 maps covering the entire world, this book will keep your children busy learning geography! Not only that, but it makes for a nice resource for the parent who needs a blank map to go along with a unit or lesson.

Geared toward 3rd through 6th graders, this product contains maps of all seven continents, with North America getting some extra special attention on each of its countries. For each section you will find a labeled and unlabeled political map and physical map, as well as a blank map. There are also maps that break the continents (and North American countries) into regions.

Some of the maps are simply maps. But many of them include places for a child to label things like countries, rivers, and oceans. In other words, you can choose between a map that is already labeled that the child can color, a blank map that the child must label themselves, or a map with a specific exercise in labeling.

Before each continent's maps, there is an introduction page giving all sorts of information about the continent. All the countries are listed in alphabetical order, telling you the exact number of countries that can be found there. A small section of facts about area, population, elevation, and a few other tidbits is given as well.

Also included is a section of world maps that teach hemispheres, latitude and longitude, Robinson Projection, oceans, and more.

Each page is uncluttered, with black and gray print on white paper. A simple border goes around all the maps for visual interest, and a small world or country map is included with all focused maps to help you see where the particular area fits in "the big picture." For example, if you are working on an activity about West Africa, there will be a small map of the entire continent of Africa with West Africa shaded in.

Simple keys and/or a compass rose are included when necessary. All the maps are clearly labeled at the top, so no one is ever confused about what is in front of them. For instance, a map of Russia will say, "Northern Asia: Russia".

In the back of the book you will find a "Continent in Review" form which can be used for any continent as a mini-report. To review some geographical terms, a crossword puzzle and word search are included too.

If you choose to work through the book map by map, your child will gain a vast amount of knowledge about mapping, the world, and its places. If you choose to only use the book as a reference, copying specific maps when you need them, your children will be greeted with a very clear map that will be a great addition to your particular lesson. In this case, I think the maps could be used for a much wider range than 3rd through 6th grade.

I love this book and highly recommend it for just about any homeschool classroom!

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2008