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The World Happy Map Review by Amy Butler

Whole Wide World Toys, Inc.
140 S Hills Dr.
Hershey, PA. 17033

As electronic maps and GPS have dominated our navigational skills, it is easy for our relationship with geography to grow detached and impersonal.  Where we live or travel is a unique story that enriches our identity and interacting with a physical component is an important way to connect to that story, especially for children.  That is what makes this World Happy Map from Whole Wide World Toys, Inc. such an important tool and toy for a child born into this age of information. 

The Happy Map is a laminated, 34” x 22” piece of sturdy, yet flexible paper and designed to be hung up on a wall or conveniently folded down into an 8 ½” x 11” sheet perfect for carrying in a folder or bag.  The folds are strategically placed where the Northern Hemisphere can be viewed when turning the pages like a book and the Southern Hemisphere in the same way when turned around.  This map is two-sided with a complete world map on one side and an activity space on the other.   This space is framed with uncolored drawings and colored clouds housing questions that encourage storytelling and creative world adventures.  In addition to the map, it also comes with three pages of reusable stickers and a red wet erase pen.  The stickers include Migrating Animals that tell where they move to and from, My World for showing where you have lived, visited, etc. and My Happy Places for whatever fun students imagine. Whole Wide World Toys, Inc. sells the Happy Map on their website for $19.95.

This product is a neat addition to any classroom and most appropriate for elementary-aged children, though any age can enjoy aspects of this map.  The creative drawing space on the back makes it fun to have pretend adventures in a group setting, but the stickers specifically make it a one student at a time type of activity.  Either way, students are given the opportunity to customize each adventure with this map.  In our personal homeschool, we are studying different countries and cultures this year and this map allows us to highlight the areas we are studying each week and facilitates a creative way to explore the countries further.  This is an excellent tool for sparking a deeper interest in geography and adventures around the world.

-Product review by Amy Butler, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2019