Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: There’s a Map on My Lap


Tish Rabe uses Dr. Seuss’s age old character The Cat in the Hat to teach about maps, reading maps and anything about a map that students will want and need to know in There’s a Map on My Lap. The story is written in true Seuss-fashion with a flowing rhyme scheme and comparisons that will help children understand difficulties such as the distortion a globe makes or how a scale works. Rabe introduces how a map looks taken of a globe by comparing it to an orange.

Peel the skin off an orange
and lay it out flat.
A flat map of the earth
will look something like that.

Rabe introduces and explains topics such as scale, direction, map making, latitude and longitude, legends, paths and puzzles. Almost every page has an information square that explains the term the Car uses in his rhymes and asks questions that can easily be posed to the class. Illustrator Aristides Ruiz uses old fashion cartoon drawings that replicate the Seuss-age drawings to make the book very fantastical, colorful, yet strangely understandable and realistic. The terms are clearly illustrated and explain the words on the page and each different place the Cat goes displays a new map of what the city, sea or bedroom map (or plan) may look like.

Curriculum Connections
There’s a Map on My Lap
uses all aspects of geography and may making to explain concepts such as legends, direction, population, and and scale. Each different topic is a couple of pages long and goes into detail about how to make a scale for a map, how to remember coordinate directions and several pages of the United States and the different state lines. There are multiple pages on many different aspects of geography that can be used in separate lessons (topics include: longitude, latitude, scale, directions, legends, coordinates, various types of maps, population density, different routes to take, measurement using string, and the United States). In Virginia, these topics correspond to SOLs K.4, K.5, 1.4, 1.5 and 2.6.

Additional Resources

  • Introduction to Maps is a website about that includes reading maps, map information and reproducibles about maps.
  • Pedagogy is website that includes a lesson plan about making maps after reading There’s a Map on My Lap!. It also includes follow up and extension activities using map vocabulary.
  • There’s a Map on My Lap is a Word document that includes geography information, websites, and additional resources for students in grades K-6.

Book: There’s a Map on My Lap
Tish Rabe
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date:
48 pages

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