Are you looking for a fun and unique way to get your school-aged child interested in reading and geography? Look no further than State of Wilderness, the first book in Elysabeth Eldering's Junior Geography Detective Squad series.
When Matt Patterson's mother gets him a new geography video game, he and his friend, Guy decide to try it out. Now, Junior Geography Detectives, the boys click through a series of clues to help them figure out which of the fifty United States this round of the game is referring to.
Just to make it interesting, Matt and Guy wager that the person who guesses the right answer first gets to pick something for the loser to do--and it probably won't be nice. And when Mary Beth, Matt's younger sister joins in on the fun, it's a race to see who will uncover which state could be known as the State of Wilderness.
This is an impressive start to what I see as being a popular series of books to inspire a love of reading in young people. Eldering speaks their language, makes learning fun, and gives readers a reason to keep turning the pages. Readers will learn a variety of interesting tidbits about one of the fifty states in each book and this book ends with "Stay tuned for some more fun activities on the state," followed by information about the state's flag, a map and quiz, and a cryptogram that reveals the state's motto.
During my interview with Eldering, I learned that there is also a Teacher's Guide available that has ideas on how to use State of the Wilderness in the classroom along with activity sheets that can be reproduced. You can find out more by reading the interview here.
Kudos go out to illustrator Aidana WillowRaven whose artwork added visual tie-ins to the clues, placing each in the screen of the video game.
The Junior Geography Detective Squad is a series you'll certainly want to keep your eye on. I anxiously await the release of the next book.
Title: State of Wilderness Author: Elysabeth Eldering Publisher: 4RV Publishing ISBN-13: 978-0-9797513-5-6 ISBN-10: 0-9797513-5-7 U.S. Price: $10.99