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The Little Man in the Map and The Little Man in the Map Teaches State Capitals Review by Wendi Kitsteiner and Cassandra Holdeman

E. Andrew Martonyi
Schoolside Press

Even as an adult, I struggle sometimes to remember which state is which. Sure, I can tell you the BIG states like Texas and California and Florida. Or I can recall the ones that I have visited frequently or lived in. But bring me over to Wyoming or Vermont, and I start to lose track of where I am and which state is which.

The Little Man in the Map was written by E. Andrew Martonyi and illustrated by Ed Olson, and it presents children (and their parents!) an opportunity to have visual clues to learn their states and keep them remembered!

This hard cover book (which includes a dust jacket) begins by introducing readers to “The Little Man.” He is actually:

  • Minnesota as the man’s hat
  • Iowa as his face
  • Missouri as his shirt
  • Arkansas as his pants
  • Louisiana as his shoes

The book then spends a total of 64 pages filling in the rest of the gaps keeping with the theme of “The Little Man” in helping its readers recall which state is which.

For example: Tennessee and North Carolina happen to be part of the table he is sitting at and the other southern states are the legs to that table. Texas is his longhorn chair. And so on!

My second-grade boys both knew all of their states, so I couldn’t test their ability for recall. However, despite knowing the states, they both thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and would often pick it out for nighttime reading. My five-year-old daughter is a bit young, but she is totally getting the hang of it, and I really think that in the next year she will totally be using this to learn her states. It’s awesome, and more importantly, it’s a ton of fun.

The Little Man in the Map Teaches the State Capitals is the companion book. Written after The Little Man in the Map, it can be used all on its own to teach capitals to your child. A quick note: it doesn’t continue using the “Little Man” and is truly a completely independent book written by the same author.

While the book is different in layout, it does stay with the same idea: using memory aids to help your child (or an adult!) learn capitals.

The Little Man in the Map Teaches the State Capitals presents a two-page spread which creates word clues to help remember the name of a state and its corresponding capital. The right page puts those clues together to create a humorous or silly little story to help remember which state goes with which capital.

For example, one of my favorites was the state of Washington.

Washington = Washing a ton

Olympia = ole limpy Pa

“Washing a ton for ole limpy Pa was not a task enjoyed by Ma.”

One of my sons is a geography wiz and already knew all the capitals. However, his brother knew very few of them. I decided, over a period of five days, to quiz him on ten states a day. I had him read the two-page spread for each capital by himself, and then I quizzed him on them. On day one, I quizzed him on ten states. On day two, I quizzed him on twenty, and so on.

His recall was truly remarkable, and while he continued to miss one or two here and there, he was absolutely recalling the memory aids as he recited the capitals to me.

This set of books is a fantastic inclusion for your homeschool or simply for a school student who could use a little extra fun in learning the geography of the USA. I truly cannot think of anything negative to say about this set of books. They are fun, and it was obvious that the author was passionate about his creations!

-Product review by Wendi Kitsteiner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017

Another Reviewer’s Perspective:

The Little Man In the Map and The Little Man In the Map Teaches State Capitals

Teaching geography to young students can be difficult because they don’t always understand the difference between a state and a city. At least this is the battle I have with teaching my third-grade daughter geography. This is why I was excited to receive The Little Man in the Map by E. Andrew Martonyi and The Little Man in the Map Teaches State Capitals by E. Andrew Martonyi to review. These two books use visual learning and rhyming to teach the states, their placement on the map, and their capitals.

The Little Man in the Map: With Clues to Remember All 50 States written by E. Andrew Martonyi uses imagination, rhyming, and visual clues to teach students from second grade to sixth grade geography. The book begins with a classroom of students that have to learn where each state is on the map. They think this task is impossible, but their teacher tells them they will use each state’s shape to create a clue that will help them remember. As the students begin to look at the map, they see a little man in the map. Minnesota is the hat, Iowa is the face, Missouri and Arkansas form the clothes, and Louisiana is the boot of the man. After the students find the man in the map, they use their imagination, and he comes alive to teach them all about the rest of the map. The book divides the map into the Midwestern States, Northeastern States, Western States, South Central States, and Southeastern States. Then the man in the map teaches rhymes to remember each of these regions and each state in the region. He also gives a visual clue to help remember each state. This book is available to purchase for the Kindle for just $9.99 or in hardback for just $15.16.

The Little Man in the Map Teaches State Capitals written by E. Andrew Martonyi is a companion book to The Little Man in the Map book. This book says you can learn all 50 state capitals in an hour. It uses word clues for the state name and the capital. Then it uses these clues to create a little rhyme you can repeat to help you remember the state and capital. Repetition is the key for this system of learning to work. This book is available to purchase for the Kindle for $7.99 or in paperback for just $11.95.

I wanted these books to work with my daughter on her geography. This isn’t a subject we have focused on for her yet, and before using these books, she would get confused between the states and cities. She read through The Little Man in the Map book, and she loved having the man teach her about the states. When she finished the book, she went over to our wall map to see if she could find the man in it. She did, and she was very excited. Then we started practicing the states’ names using the blank map in the back of the book. She did much better at recognizing the states after we had read the book than she did before it. We have read through this book several more times, and each time she learns where more of the states are while retaining the ones she previously learned. We also read through The Little Man in the Map Teaches State Capitals. I had my daughter read through a few states each day and concentrate on memorizing the state and its capital. She really loved the rhymes and loved the fact that she was learning the geography. We have gone through this whole book a few times now, and she remembers well over half of the rhymes. She says she is going to keep working on them until she can remember them all.

Overall, I think these two books are great resources for helping to supplement a geography curriculum. They are fun and entertaining. They use methods that are perfect for both visual and auditory learners. The rhymes are very easy to memorize and retain in your memory. We will definitely continue using these books to help my daughter learn more of her geography, and we recommend them if you have students that love geography or students that are struggling with geography.

-Product review by Cassandra Holdeman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017