Author: Lynn Garthwaite
Publisher: Blue Spectrum Books
ISBN: 978-0-9973967-0-6

And why are some states so irregular in shape while others are plain rectangles?” Lynn Garthwaite asks in the introduction of her book, Our States Have Crazy Shapes: Panhandles, Bootheels, Knobs, and Points.

At two-hundred-thirty-eight pages, this paperback targets those who want to learn how the states in America got their shapes. After acknowledgments, introduction, and interesting tidbits, the book has fifty chapters, ending with a glossary, bibliography, and the author’s biography.

With each chapter in order of an American state’s admission into the United States, this book covers the why and how all fifty areas’ borders were determined. The book begins with various notes regarding how railroads, a wanna-be-state named Franklin, windy rivers, Congress, and Jefferson’s grid set up a few of the division lines. With black and white illustrations or maps, each state of the Union has its history of how its borders were determined; each one is explained in two to four pages. Nine topics are listed in the glossary.

I like books that are informative and teach readers how our country was divided. In reading of the states I have lived in, I learned that #31 California was to be divided into three states but the discovery of gold expanded its borders, #33 Oregon used both a river and the seven degrees to determine the property line, and #40 South Dakota had and still has a land issues due to flooding, I like that the states are in order of joining the Union.

Some may not like that there are few illustrations or photographs and mainly simplistic maps in this book. Others may find they could go online and access the same information quickly instead of having to look up the state’s name and page numbers to read about how the shape was determined.

The author of the Dirkle Smat Adventure series, Garthwaite has a passion for children’s literacy. She lives in Minnesota.

With each state described, the book would be helpful if there were an index one could look up landmarks or famous people who helped plot our states so one does not have to search for the information within the chapters.

For those who like to read about America’s states and shapes or are doing a state by state book report, this may be a good source of information.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for this book to read and review.