Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday's Special Is...Junior Geography Detective Squad!

Junior Geography Detective Squad by Elysabeth Eldering

What happens when four friends get together and play a geography trivia game? Learn some new information about a different state each time Matt, Guy, Jolene and Mary Beth pick up the handheld game that will give them a bit of geography, history, trivia and mystery. Can you guess the state with the characters? Take the challenge of guessing the state along with them and find out more information about the state and book at the end. Discussions questions can be used in group reads or by individual readers to find out more about the states.

Where will the adventure take you next? Find out by reading the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series.

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Elysabeth's blog

"Hey, Matt. What's this?" Guy leaned over the desk and picked up the handheld game. He turned it over and over, checking all the buttons and the screen. The machine looked like a cross between a PSP® and a PDA. "Aren't we getting a little past the Gameboy® days."

"No. It's a new geography game my mom got me. Said it would help with social studies this year."

"So what's it do?"

"Let me show you." Matt held out his hand waiting for Guy to give him the game.

Matt flipped the power switch. The song, We Are the Champions, blared out. "Holy cow! I didn't realize it was so loud. I hadn't turned it on in a few days. Mary Beth must have been using it and had the headphones in."

"Yeah, your little sister's always messing with your stuff."

"And it aggravates the heck out of me. She uses my stuff and never leaves it like she found it. Just once…" Matt adjusted the volume and hit the enter button, which brought up the first screen.

Greetings, Junior Geography Detective. Please enter your name.

"It talks. That's pretty cool." Guy nodded in appreciation of not having to read the screen.
Matt typed in his name and added another line for Guy's name.

Welcome, Matt and Guy. Do you think you know the United States? If so, maybe you are up to the challenge of figuring out which state we are visiting based on clues, facts, and trivia. I will present you with some information about a state. The clues and facts get easier as you advance. Are you ready to play?

"Want to make a bet?" Matt looked over at his friend.

"A bet?"

"Sure, let's write down our answers when we think we know the state, and the one who knows it sooner gets to pick what the loser has to do." Matt tore a page out of the notebook on his desk and gave half to Guy.

"How will we know who the winner is?"

"At the end of the game, whoever guessed it earliest is the winner, and the loser pays big time."
"Pay? I'm not paying you anything. I'm going to whip your butt."

"So you think you're ready?"Guy nodded. "Yep, let's see if Mr. Brady's class last year helped us."

Elysabeth is going to lead us along in an interactive game of Junior Geography Detective. Play along and see if you can be the first to guess the state and win a free copy of Elysabeth's book!! Clue number one - This state is located in the northwest area.

And we'd love to learn fun facts, silly trivia or something interesting about the state where you live!


Chris Eldin said...

Good morning everyone!!
Here's hoping you're warm, wherever you are!
This looks to be a fun Saturday game!


elysabeth said...

Good morning everyone. Yep I'm a bit frozen with no heat in my house and trying to get the fingers moving. Thanks for having me here, Chris and others from the Book Roast.

Anyone up for a challenge today? How about a clue to get you started guessing which state the first book in the series is?

Chris has given us a clue already but let's add another from the book. (I have oodles of info to take my clues from so the hardest part is deciding which 25 items to use as my clues, since the last two will always be the same - the state flower paired with the geographic center of the state and the state bird paired with the state capital.)

Here is a random clue from the book:

CLUE #9: This state is the only state whose name doesn't come from an Indian word or anything common. Its name was actually a hoax. When the name was being selected, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested its name, an Indian term he claimed meant "gem of the mountains." Later, it was revealed that Willing made up the name himself, and the original Territory was renamed Colorado because of it. Eventually, the controversy was forgotten, and this state was given the made-up name when the Territory was formally created in 1863.
Are you ready to guess the state?

They discussed it a few minutes and Matt wrote down a guess.

Guy wanted to move on. "I'm not sure about some of these clues. They are tough."

"Your point is? Just think about what we do know. Look, we know it is an odd-shaped state. Which states are odd-shaped?"

"Most of them are, aren't they? Pull out a map, and let's have a look."

"No, that would be cheating. Let's just keep on and see if we get some easier clues." Matt hit continue.

Remember to leave your email addy in your comment in order to be eligible for the drawing. If I can't contact you, you can't win. Also, don't forget an interesting, fun, little known fact or tidbit about the state you live in. Who knows, it may show up in the book about that state (so you have to indicate which state you are from too). Good luck everyone and see you in the postings - E :)

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Elysabeth,
Just poking my head in!

Hmmm...I guess everyone is frozen to their beds!

Having a roast on a Saturday is a first for us. If everyone is out and about, we'll throw Elysabeth over the grill again!!

Thanks all!

elysabeth said...

Ohhh Throw me on the Grill - so I can get warm. LOL. I'm about tempted to crawl back in bed myself but unfortunately work calls and I need the lines and the pay. I'm here all day folks, come and guess the state and have fun. I also have other items to give away if you aren't interested in the book (a US map puzzle, finished size 8-1/2 x 11", some state pins and other items). Come leave your comments and see if you can guess the state from the clue. Be on the lookout for another clue in a couple of hours. - see you all in the postings - E :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's Idaho.

elysabeth said...

I won't tell because then no one would want to read the book. Charles, aren't you interested in entering the contest? Nothing interesting or fun about your state to add to your comment? Remember folks leave your email addy in your comment in order to be entered for the drawing. I can't select a winner without an email addy for contact purposes.

Where is everyone? I hope you all are staying warm also. Come play the game and see if you are smarter than a fifth grader (that is the age these books are geared towards). E :)

Sam said...

Charles, you beat me to it! And the only thing I'm going by is the clue 'odd-shaped' - it is the oddest shape in that corner of the map, lol.

Sam said...

I forgot the tidbit about the state I grew up in:

According to local legend, the expression O.K. comes from the small town in this state where the 8th president of the USA was born and lived.

elysabeth said...


There isn't even a clue about it being odd-shaped. Not sure where you got that from. The only two clues given were that this state is in the northwest and it's name was actually a hoax.

Ya'll please don't forget to leave email addys for contact purposes to be entered in the drawing. And please include a factoid or interesting thing about your state. You never know what might show up in the book about that state. E :)

elysabeth said...

Oops my bad - they had been given a clue prior to this one about the shape - lol - see I can't even remember what I posted - E :)

Chris Eldin said...

LOL! Clever posters, these.

I'm in Maryland. Crabcakes rule, and everyone calls you "hon."

Chris V. said...

Hi Elysabeth, I'm gonna guess Iowa (and be way off. ha!) Can't wait till you get to Wisconsin and Illinois. I do about as well on geography as on math, well make that a tad better.

elysabeth said...

Chris V, you forgot an interesting or fun little tidbit about your state. All states will come out over the course of the next 12 or so years unless CPSIA shuts us down, but I have faith that the people will be heard and the law will be repealed before the February 10 deadline so we can proceed as scheduled. Glad you stopped by. Good luck to everyone. Please remember email addys in comments are vital to be contacted if you are the winner. E :)

elysabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Eldin said...

Hi Everyone,

Well, our travel plans have changed several times, but finally we're off! Have to unplug the wireless router (other known as my reason to live).

Elysabeth, Thanks for participating with us!! And best of luck to everyone playing!!!

Elysabeth will close the contest at 9pm tonight, eastern U.S. time and announce the winner.

Thanks everyone!!

elysabeth said...

Be safe, Chris. See you in the postings soon.

It's almost 2:30 pm and we have had three people come over and play the game - lol. Where is everyone?

Guess it is time for another clue:

CLUE #20:
Birds of Prey Wildlife Area is home
to the world’s most dense population of nesting eagles,
hawks and falcons. President Theodore Roosevelt established Caribou National Forest in 1907.

The area now covers more than
1 million acres in the southeast
part of this state. Grangeville is considered the gateway to five wilderness areas and four national forests totaling 5-1/2 million acres, second only to Alaska in
designated wilderness area.

“Birds, caribou, wilderness? If the thing hadn’t said Alaska, I would have thought for sure wilderness would have led us up that way. I’m pretty sure we are in the Pacific Northwest though. We had Rocky Mountains referred to earlier.”

“Yeah, definitely Northwest, and it’s eliminated all but the right state now. Let’s keep on going and see where we end up.” Guy reached over and pressed next.

This is the clue that gave us the title: Wilderness.

Each title will be reflective of the clues and the state itself. In the second book, State of Quarries, the illustrations on the front cover are of a diamond ring, colored chalk and and a digger or backhoe, mining the quarries.

There are a lot of clues that are similar in the states but there are many things that make them unique. I can't wait for book 2 to come out.

Remember this series is geared to 5th graders basically, so test your knowledge and see if you are smarter than a 5th grader and see where the adventure takes you next. = E :)

PS - don't forget to leave your email addy in your comment along with a fun or interesting or anything tidbit about the state you live in or a state that you are very familiar with. Thanks - E :)

Beth Bence Reinke said...

Well, my state is home to Punxsutawney Phil and the Hershey kiss. Perhaps you can guess it?!

My geography is well, not my strongest subject, Elysabeth, so I'll skip guessing.

All best with your book's blog tour!

Beth :o)

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Beth. Actually, I've visited Hershey and the Amish Country when I was a girl scout back in 1976. Yes, I'm telling on myself now. The reason I remember the date is that my father retired from the Army that year and that was the year I started high school. The planned trip (which was our reward for cookie sales that year) was supposed to be about 75 miles over 4-1/2 days of biking around the areas; we ended up biking over 120 (I think we did close to 150) in that time frame. We went to Hershey and ate fresh pretzels and saw them making the kisses. It was a pretty awesome experience. (At the time, my father was stationed at West Point, so we drove our vans down with our bikes and camping gear to make the trip.)

Thanks for sharing with us and stopping by. I'll think of posting maybe one more clue before the end of the day.

Maybe folks have warmed up now and will start coming by to see what we have to offer.

Dave F. said...

Potatoes ;)

It's too easy to search those facts from any reference book. HOWEVER, fifth graders don't know how to search for things in reference books, encyclopedias and maybe even the internet. It's a shame searching the internet is fraught with other things we don't want fifth graders to see.

I have three years to wait for a fifth grader. The nephews and nieces are older or younger.

By the way, I live 20 miles north of the Mason Dixon Line in a town with a numeric name.

elysabeth said...

Thanks Dave. What you aren't going to tell us the town and state? The object of the books is to have them guess and some of the clues will be easy and should be something everyone is familiar with and some will be obscure, little known facts or trivia info about the state.

And if my characters can't cheat by pulling out a map or looking things up on the internet, then my readers can't either. It's only cheating yourself but that takes all the fun out of reading the story and learning something about another area of the United States.

Nieces and nephews older or younger will enjoy the books as well as the group targeted. I've had adults read the books and love it, saying they learned something pretty cool and I've had 3rd and 4th graders read the first one telling me they loved the format and how it was fun to learn this stuff. I've also had teenagers, high schoolers, who have enjoyed the first book. The format is fun and it's a pretty quick read so most readers, whether they be on level or above level or below level, should be able to finish a book in short period of time.

I'm having fun learning stuff about the states we never got to travel to during my father's stint in the service (of course, he was only stationed in a few over the course of 22 years in the Army, with two stints overseas). I think all the kids, no matter what age group, will be able to relate to the handheld game format and will hopefully enjoy enough to continue looking forward to more in the series.

I'm visiting a sixth grade class via internet (Google talk is so fun) and they have read the first book and everyone of them keep asking when the second will be out and what's the next state, but I can only tell them to be patient. As soon as some of this stuff with CPSIA is cleared up, we can proceed. The second is almost ready to be published, just waiting the go-ahead (I just have to add a couple of things and change one thing).

I do hope that more folks participate and try to guess the state and leave some fun tidbit of info about their state. See you all in the postings - E :)

Dave F. said...

Guess your state? Well I did - potatoes, of course. I buy bags of those things in the supermarket that say {insert state name} potatoes. I mash them, I roast them, I boil and parsley them, I Add garlic to them.

I'm cooking dinner and I'm hungry, can you tell?

Now as for my city and state. Beth surprised me with Punxsutawney Phil. And although I've never been to the celebration (I'll tell you a secret about the celebration, I respect my liver enough not to go there), I follow it with fun in my heart and warm slippers on my toes.

SO it's also Pennsylvania (a coincidence) and I'm over near Washington, Canonsburg (Perry Como's home), Monongahela, Alliquipa, Pittsburgh and of course my numerically ambiguously named Eighty Four. It's a tough name for a town. Mingo Creek County Park is my backyard.

But more important to your fifth graders - Gettysburg is east of me, not too far east. And Pittsburgh contains a blockhouse that dates back to George Washington and the French and Indian War. And I do remember the red-orange glow of steel mills lighting the night sky for 20 miles around announcing US Steel to skies. And a building made out of aluminum (even the toilets), and downriver a city, Ambridge, named after American Bridge Company.

And all that stuff.

elysabeth said...

Wow, Dave. You gave a lot of information. You said you lived in a town that was actually a number and I in return was asking if you weren't going to tell us the name of the town and the state from which you hail. Thanks for all the wonderful info about PA and who knows, it may show up in the book about Pennsylvania when I get to it (at least some of it may). I like learning about other states from the natives of those states since I've not visited many myself. I'd hoped for more visitors today and more participants but it seems we are in a slump. I'll probably post one more clue for other readers before 9 PM. Hope you all are enjoying the posting and learning about where other readers live. See you all soon - in the postings that is - E :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow. What a cool book. I, too, suck at Geography, but am always willing to learn.

(CA - Land of Fruits and Nuts and the 'we are keeping everyone's tax return' government)

elysabeth said...

Sarah, isn't the government just a grand oddity in its right? I'm sure there will be some fruits in my book about California but since I'm not that far down in writing them yet (and I know there is an order to them being written but don't remember where the states will pop up, so it's an adventure for me as well as the readers), don't know what exactly will show up. Thanks for stopping by -

I'm taking a break and going out with the kids but I'll be back before the roast ends - E :)

laughingwolf said...

welcome elysabeth :D

looks like a fun game, but i know my american brothers and sisters can whoop my butt on this one :O lol

i dunno... idaho?

hey, it rhymes...

oops, i see it's what charles picked, too...

Dave F. said...

I know lots of things about Pittsburgh. I grew up there and went to college there. So if you do Pennsylvania, don't stop at just Philadelphia. Phili is so rich in history it's hard not to forget the state has a western end to it.

I know the secret of Heinz Ketchup and I'm searching for the secret of the pickle. That's a big wink.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I spent a lot of time in PA before ever crossing the center line and hitting the western end. And I still haven't been to Philly. There were great stock car races in Scranton. A wonderful campground run by a couple who had kids from previous marriages and this marriage. So there were kids of all ages to play with. That was in Equinook(?). The post office, grocery store and some other store were all in the same building - same room of the same building. They had an old Wurlitzer that played 78's in the clubhouse. Developed a love for Chuck Berry there.

Sarah Laurenson said...

State Trivia? Let's see.

Louisiana and Alaska are the only 2 states that have parishes instead of counties. Louisiana is, I believe, the only state where the laws are based on the Napoleanic Code rather than English Common Law.

There are states that have signed a compact with each other. This covers things like enforcing laws and extraditing prisoners. A long time ago, there were only 22 compact states. I don't know how many there are today.

Texas has almost every type of geography/topography imaginable. Desert, mountain, flat, wetlands, islands, lakes, forests. You anme it, I think they've got it.

elysabeth said...


No worries on just stopping at the eastern part of the state. My trivia covers all aspects of the state - like in book 2, there is a town called Stuttgart that is the duck calling capital of the world, and my characters talk about that being a place in Germany. So see I do cover all kinds of places and things that are just trivia about different areas of the states. I'm trying not to make any clue in the first part too obvious because I don't want the readers to know immediately and then put the book down.

Laughingwolf, does that mean you aren't in the United States? How fun and interesting. I would do books on other places but with me being tied up for the next 12+ years with just the states, I better not take on another challenge.

Sarah, thanks for the feedback. Did you tell us what state you are from? You did tend to know things about several states so it could be that you have lived or are living in one of them now.

Thanks for playing along everyone. I'll be back one more time to post the winner in about an hour or so. Then, I'll sign off. See you then - E :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

From NJ to LA to CA (L.A.).

Wonderful roast today. Thanks for playing along.

elysabeth said...

And the winner is Chris V - congratulations. I've got your email, so I'll email you for details to send you your prizes.

Thanks everyone for coming by and leaving comments. I have found out more fun stuff about a few more of the states. I've enjoyed being here today. Follow my tour as I make a stop Monday at - Rena's blog during my blog tour this coming week.

I've appreciated the chance to get seen and have fun with the folks here at the Book Roast Blog. Thanks again - see you all in the postings - E :)

chris eldin said...

Hi everyone,

I'm writing from an airport terminal where everyone speaks funny. Not good ol' American. ahahahaha! Read an article in London Times about Obama's ability to speak well. Very interesting behind-teh-scenes....

anyway, thanks all!!! and i'll be sure to tap Sarah's geo wizardry!! Who knew?

laughingwolf said...

hi elysabeth, i'm in the great white north, specifically on the atlantic coast, halifax, nova scotia

when you start on canada, in year 13, you have provinces and territories to choose from ;)

elysabeth said...

Laughingwolf, I'll leave that series up to you. I've never been to Canada, although my father's family is originally from there. My oldest child on the other hand has been quite the traveler since he was about 5 years old. My parents took him to Disney World on year, then when he was about 9 or 10, they took him to Maine and Canada and all. He's also flown to Virginia by himself and visited my brother there. Since he's grown, he's traveled a few other states with friends and all, even going to New York during a holiday - I believe he went for a New Year's Eve thing but don't remember.

I wouldn't even know where to start with writing a series on Canada, although if there are only 10 provinces and 2 territories, that might make the writing a bit easier because the stories would be longer in order to include things from around each of the provinces. For now, I'll just work through the states and maybe think about doing the Canada series later -

Thanks everyone for the wonderful input and fun information. See you all in the postings - E :)

laughingwolf said...

thx e... one small correction: one of the territories was split, so we now have three ;)

perhaps your son could take up the canadian end, since he does have roots here... as do you, of course?


Vivian Zabel said...

Oooo, quite a discussion.

State of Wilderness is interesting, as will be the rest of the series.

McKoala said...

Most of the states are odd-shaped, lol!

BTW, Sam, I know that story - I've even been there, although it was a long time ago.

Hm, I live in Oz, but I'll give you a weird fact anyway. My state contains the village/area where 'Babe' was filmed; and that village has a very big potato.

Barbara Martin said...

First time I heard Iowa was in the northwest part of the US. I wonder what geography book you were using because mine says the state is central.