This book first came into my life about a year ago when a favorite student of mine, started saying "I am not happy at all!" whenever he was out of sorts about something or other. At the time, I thought it represented great progress- he was recognizing and verbalizing his emotions! Well, in a way he was, but more exactly he was quoting Kansas from The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller.
You see, Kansas, although perfectly satisfied with Nebraska's company for the most part, decides that middle America just isn't quite exciting enough on the whole and wakes up one morning feeling dissatisfied and looking for a change. After discussing the matter, Nebraska decides that he could certainly get a break from listening to the Dakotas argue all the time and agrees to help Kansas arrange a fifty states mixer in an effort to meet some new states.
The resulting shindig, and the surprising interstate friendships that form, is a huge success. By the evening's end, the states decide as a group to switch places with one another, completely reworking the geography of this here country. The rest of the story shares with us the various misadventures of familiar states in unfamiliar locations. Midwestern states, sent out to where California used to be, are aghast at the constant low-level seismic activity. Minnesota heads to the Gulf Coast and is horrified by his sudden and terrible sunburn as well as by Vermont's insistence on the benefits of hugging. In all, the states find themselves mostly uncomfortable and unhappy in their new locales, and in the end, collectively decide to high-tail it home in hopes of settling back into their old (and now suddenly very appealing) environs.
This book has been a big favorite around the house this summer and Mariam went through a couple of weeks right after our move when she wanted to read it every day. Many times. It's a great jumping off point for discussions about geography, however, and it turned out to the be the perfect thing for helping her to begin wrapping her little mind around just what it meant to move from one coast to (very nearly) the other.
Oh- and the last pages of the book give an overview of each state, it's motto, capital and population. Great for kids who find fun in facts. This is also fascinating if you have just gone from living in a state with 27 million something people to one that has about 500 thousand. I'm just saying.