I love living in Washington! God gave us an amazingly diverse state to enjoy. So when I had the opportunity to review a book from the By the Way Book Series highlighting the wondrous creations of this state, I eagerly accepted! The kids were so excited to read Washington ~ Here We Come! when it arrived.
What’s the Book?
Washington ~ Here We Come! is a hardcover book. Each page is full of information about Washington State. A narrative keeps the story flowing throughout each page, and there are numerous “Did You Know” boxes throughout. These boxes share facts about God’s amazing handiwork.
Here’s Sydney showing one of her favorite pages, talking about some delicious food that grows in Washington.
You can see how much text is one the page–integrating the story of some children visiting Washington, facts about apples and onions, and a Bible verse about apples.
How Did We Use the Book?
After realizing how much information was in this book, I made the decision to go through it slowly. I thought if we just rushed through it, we’d miss many opportunities to extend the learning.
So, we read just a couple of pages each day. After reading, we extended the learning to help us all remember what we read. Here are some examples:
We read about Mt. St. Helens blowing up on pages 16 and 17. Jeff had received a volcano kit for Christmas, so we pulled it out and put it together. It was amazing to connect the information from the book to the hands-on activity.
When we read page 27 about the monument “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies,” the kids drew pictures of horses running free.
Grand Coulee Dam is featured on page 32, so we chatted about our trip there last fall. We pulled out pictures and talked about the laser light show.
There were several pages sharing amazing pictures and facts about creatures in the Puget Sound. The kids were impressed by the killer whales, and seeing a scaled picture showing that a man could fit inside the belly of a whale. This was the perfect opportunity to go reread the story of Jonah in the Bible, and act it out.
My Thoughts on By the Way Book Series
There were several things I loved about this book. I really enjoyed how the Bible verses and facts were integrated without seeming forced or out of place.
The pictures were beautiful, and held the kids’ interest.
There were so many facts, and we learned a lot about our state. That was really fun!
It was easy to extend the learning with hands-on projects and activities, and if it weren’t winter, field trips would be an amazing extension! We do plan on taking a couple as the weather improves, and we’ll be sure to bring the book along when we do. That way we can read the facts while exploring, and really integrate our learning!
A Couple Things I Didn’t Like
There were just a few things I didn’t like about this book. First of all, we live in Eastern Washington. There are amazing creatures and adventures on this side of the state. But, the vast majority of the book centers around Western Washington.
Since the illustrator for the book series lives in Seattle, it makes sense. But, the kids were a little disappointed as we read page after page about the other side of the state and just a couple about places close to us.
Secondly, I found the story piece a bit confusing. The book starts with a couple kids arriving at the baggage claim and meeting up with their team members. They travel throughout the state learning about everything.
However, I felt like an introduction to the concept was missing. I wasn’t sure who the kids were or why they were together with this team.
Since Washington ~ Here We Come! is the fourth book in the By the Way series, I’m wondering if it’s explained earlier on. The first book, Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come! could explain everything.
My Final Thoughts
Despite the lack of coverage in Eastern Washington, I do recommend this book. The odd story line didn’t bother the kids at all. They never questioned it, and when I asked, they thought it’d be fun to go fly to a different state and learn all about it!
I really enjoyed the material covered in the book, especially since it was from a Biblical view point. It was an easy way to share more about God’s creation with the kids.
We will be pulling this book out again in the future, and once we get approved to begin the deputation process to become missionaries to Missionary Acres, I envision us picking up more of the books. That way we can read them as we travel on deputation, and learn more about where we’ll be going.
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