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The Global Puzzle

Genre: Geography

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The Global Puzzle

Obviously, I should have known that a 600 piece puzzle with pieces that are actually shaped like countries (when there are only 193 countries in the world) had a lot of extra pieces. Since seventy percent of the world is covered by water, those extra pieces are all blue water ocean pieces. That’s about 450 blue puzzle pieces that look practically alike (except they contain textual facts about the capitals, population, and size of all 193 countries–all alphabetized from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to help you find where to place the pieces)!

I had been looking forward to getting The Global Puzzle for years (and if I’d gotten it ten years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any trouble reading the small print in the deep blue ocean). I planned to pull this puzzle out on game night with visions of the whole family putting it together, maybe even doing timed games to see who could put it together fastest. In the fun, we’d learn all the countries of the world, and increase our scores on Trivial Pursuit.

In reality, this puzzle took three hours to assemble, and should be treated like – well, like a 600 piece puzzle with its own dedicated table for snapping in a few pieces each time you pass by.

Things to improve:

  • Although the puzzle seems to be drawn to scale, I would have been happier with less water and larger country pieces.
  • Greenland could be one piece instead of three, and Malawi could have its own piece instead of having to share with Mozambique.
  • The United States is divided by regions, consisting of about fifteen pieces instead of fifty; but one piece would have suited me!
  • A Broader View website offers a fun Geography Challenge that drills recognition of the countries on the map. I didn’t know about the online Geography Challenge until I began to research for the review, so perhaps the publisher could include information in the packaging of the puzzle to highlight this fun and informative feature.

Even so, I like The Global Puzzle; it is educational and informative. We discovered the “hanging Chad,” learned that the Falkland Islands off the coast of South America are owned by the United Kingdom, and found just where in the world is the Black Sea.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Ocean pieces are interlocking, but the countries are not interlocking and retain the outline of the country. Until the whole continent is complete, it is easy to jiggle the countries around when the table is bumped, which might make it a challenge with little ones wanting to join the fun.
  • Small pieces might create a Curious George moment for toddlers.
  • Consider putting the puzzle together in a location where you can come back to it later – not the dinner table a couple hours before it’s time to eat!
  • If you can spare the space, leave the puzzle connected for a few weeks. Every day remove the pieces from one continent, and assign puzzle time as geography. In just a few minutes a day, your children will learn where Cote d’Ivoire and Kyrgyzstan are!

Overall, I think this puzzle is well worth the investment to make it a part of your family library or game chest, especially when you add in the value of the online challenge. For the price, you definitely learn more about the countries of the world.

About Shari Popejoy

Shari Popejoy, wife of nearly thirty years, mother of three, founder of a local co-op for hundreds of homeschooled children, author of seven books, and creator of Won Without Words (a blog of encouragement for wives) lives in the quiet country of the Ozarks where she enjoys writing surrounded by nature (and her children, of course). She is currently completing Volume V of the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for ‘smart’ kids, which features characters with character and underlying allegorical spiritual truths. She enjoys high places and the road less traveled; and moments when all is well, and peace permeates like a fragrance. . .oh, and chocolate, mocha, fresh fruit and veggies, and early morning sunrises. Read her blog at blog injoyinc.com.

Last Updated: February 11, 2013

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Review Rating

Quick Overview

From:
Website:
 
Genre:
Contains:
600 puzzle pieces
Awards:
Instructor's Top Educational Resource of the Year
Retail Price:
$13.95
Recommended:
for ages eight and up
Worldview:
secular
 
Pros:
the countries are shaped by political boundaries, with interesting country facts printed on the oceans
Cons:
the majority of the puzzle pieces are blue water with small text
Our Rating System
First Impression

Product packaging, including cover art, description, and graphics.

Quality

Materials, durability, formatting, editing, and legibility.

Content

Accuracy, appropriateness, and consistency of worldview.

Ease of Use

Clarity, usability, simplicity.

Appeal

Charm, likelihood of repeated use, the fun-factor