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Great American Puzzle Books Series Review by Jennie Louwes

Applewood Books
1 River Road
Carlisle, MA, 01741

The Great American Puzzle Books Series from Applewood Books offers you the opportunity to travel without ever leaving home! My family and I are blessed to be working our way through the following three versions: The Great American Puzzle Book, 200 Large Print Puzzles; The Great American Road Trip Puzzle Book; and The Great American Public Lands Road Trip Puzzle Book. Each book is reasonably priced at $9.99 and provides between two hundred and two hundred and nine pages of word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, matching games, true or false questions, and more to test what you know and to teach you what you do not. Each book has proven to be easy to navigate due to its large print and challenging fun that works your brain just like a good game of Jeopardy!

These books are not made for homeschool families specifically but rather the general public and are marketed for young and old alike. I have found them to be incredibly beneficial as homeschool supplements for my older two children, twelve and eleven. The books have kept them busy, engaged and have provided them with something good to focus on and concentrate on outside our set curriculums. Not only that, but the books have caused my children to ask questions and have helped transport us to different times and eras.  We travel through America’s National Parks and Forests via each page within the Great American Public Lands Road Trip Puzzle Book. As we look things up on our computer, we touch on many Americana facts that are simply good to know!

Word search puzzles are an excellent way to while away the hours for both adults and children. After you have crossed off the last word found underneath a specific puzzle before moving onto the next, there is a sense of accomplishment. As supplemental material, it is a peace-filled gift to be able to know your kids are independently learning from books that are wholesome and good and are developing a well-rounded vocabulary too!

Although marketed for both young and old alike, if the goal is for independent time to be spent working through puzzles, then these books are best suited for fourteen-year-olds on up. The puzzles outside of word searches are more difficult and may require a computer to find the answers; unless, of course, you choose to use the answer key in the back of the books themselves. However, by using the answer key rather than searching the internet, you miss filling in the history beyond just the found word.

My children are not yet allowed to search the internet freely, so it becomes a family learning opportunity rather than an independent one when questions arise. This can be considered a pro or a con dependent upon your at-home schooling schedule and how flexible or rigid it is.

My family and I have used these books to travel within our imaginations and learn about places we have yet to visit in person. However, these books would be amazing to take on the suggested road trips as laid out within their pages! As the books themselves state, “The puzzles were designed to enhance a real road trip or help armchair travelers hit the virtual road. Routes are circular, so you can start anywhere along the routes and experience the journeys from where you like.” How unique and fun!

I look forward to the day when we hit the road in our old coupe, puzzle books in hand, to enjoy a vacation like nothing we have ever experienced before! Will you be the next family in line to experience these joy rides of a lifetime?

Product review by Jennie Louwes, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2020