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4D Cityscape Time Puzzle: London Review by Maggi Beardsley

4D Cityscape Inc.
5762 Highway 7 East
PO Box 406
Markham ON L3P-7Y4

4D Cityscape Time Puzzle: London was by far the most exciting puzzle we have ever had in our house! It is a great puzzle for the summer break from regular school. There is nothing like it anywhere. Everything you need comes in the box. You will construct two different puzzles of London, one from 1078 and one from 2014, using 1200 pieces.

How is it different from all other puzzles? Well, it is layered! First you build a puzzle of London in the year 1078. The puzzle pieces are flat, but they are foam-backed pieces. It was a challenge for me to find just the right place for each piece since it seemed like they could fit in a few places. Maybe that's why the company included a magnifying glass! There is also a colored map of each layer of the puzzle. Once you complete London in the year 1078 you will notice that there are a few double-layered pieces already glued on to the first layer. These will help you with the second layer. Next you will open up a new plastic bag of pieces to construct London in the year 2014. Once you complete that puzzle on top of the original puzzle, then you open up another bag that is full of buildings that were or are being constructed in London. There is a colored timeline of the buildings with their names, pictures, and dates of construction as well as numbers that correspond to their places on the map. When we placed the puzzle in the closet one night, parts of it even glowed in the dark. When the puzzle is complete, you can see what London looks like today complete with the buildings.

This was a great puzzle for us. While we were not specifically studying London, we were able to use this puzzle to discuss the Olympics as well as the Royal Wedding. It created all sorts of questions for our children. Why did they reconstruct the London Bridge where they did? What is a Parliament? How does a 4D puzzle differ from a poster? Homeschoolers can find many ways to integrate this puzzle in to the curriculum.

My 11-year-old thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. It was challenging for him. He had to use the maps often to make sure that he was placing the pieces in the correct location. I liked that he was so engaged in a project. Unlike other puzzles, this one required him to use the map. When it came time to place the buildings, he had to follow the timeline. We found one thing that we would like to change about the puzzle. The double-decked pieces on the first puzzle did not match exactly when the second layer was added. Sometimes the border line was thinner or the piece was glued a little bit too much to the right or left, which made it difficult to complete the second layer perfectly. Of course, being homeschoolers, we improvised by removing the glued piece and then placing it in again, and it fit all right. The puzzle was definitely not easy. While this frustrated me at times, it did not frustrate my son. My husband also found the writing on the maps to be small. Sometimes it was a challenge to look at colored sketches of the buildings and match them to the plastic pieces. We overcame this by looking at the holes in the puzzle and matching the buildings to the holes. This critique is not to say that the puzzle isn't a good puzzle; it is an amazing puzzle. The critique is just to warn you of some of the possible frustration moments.

Overall, 4D Cityscape Time Puzzle: London is the most amazing puzzle we have ever seen. It was challenging, historical, engaging, and thought provoking. We will soon be purchasing another puzzle from this company.

Product review by Maggi Beardsley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2011