The Fundex, Great American Puzzle Factory, Map of the World Puzzle

Fundex acquired the great American puzzles of The Great American Puzzle Factory. And we, because of our ongoing interest in all things Fundex, acquired the Map of the World puzzle.

Yes, it’s a many-pieced jigsaw puzzle (600). And yet, no, it’s not like so many of those many-pieced jigsaw puzzles.

Let’s start with the art itself. Yes, it’s a map of the world, but it’s by Dino Kalogjera, who makes maps that are fact-filled and cartoon-encrusted voyages into geographic and historic detail with seemingly endless humor. There are tables and lists of dates and inventions and voyages and explorers, famous sites, products, wildlife. And cartoons that add humor and detail everywhere, even in the middle of the ocean. So you’re never faced with a vast expanse of blue nothingness or dun-colored, detailess desert. Always a hint of something which, no matter how funny, will magically reveal itself to be a discovery and guide. Armed with strong enough eyes or a good enough magnifying glass, you plunge into into a wonderfully entertaining world.

Then there’s the shape and the fit of the pieces. Did I mention 600 of them? Each relatively large, well-cut, unusually-shaped. Surprisingly surprising, as one might say, from the first pieces you put together to the last. The pieces are sturdy without being thick, cut into odd, and clearly original shapes that fit together in almost always surprising ways (sometimes overhanging adjacent pieces, sometimes bridging gaps you didn’t know were bridgable, often the other way around). Fitting two pieces together always leads to something funny and useful, in fact and fancy. There are so many illustrations that often getting one piece where it belongs completes several other illustrations, simultaneously. Again with the surprising.

The finished puzzle is 2×3 feet, and you are glad for every inch of expanded detail. So much to look at that it’s like seeing the whole world at once. Which is, of course, precisely what this map has to show you, and surprisingly more. If I were teaching teachers how to design a good lesson plan, I think I’d begin with this puzzle.

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