Right. So that simple, matte poster was the last thing I saw before dozing off every night of my later prepubescence and early adolescence. And it was, as long as I woke on my backside, the first thing I saw as my sleepy eyes fluttered back into subjective reality. I lost count of the hours spent gazing at Antarctica, unbeknownst to my pint-sized self that the virtually inhabitable continent would become a dream destination as a grown-up. This humble map fuelled my already overdeveloped, unabashed curiosity and limitless predilection to question my surroundings. It made me dream that if I worked hard enough, one day I could afford to travel to all the corners of this two-dimensional globe I had studied so copiously. What's it like in Nepal? And Denmark? Or even Oregon? Do their trees look like ours? And what does Egypt smell like? Is the sunset the same color there as it at home or do the Pyramids make everything different? What? When? Where? How? Why? Why not?
So when I spotted the Edu Science Intelliglobe on a recent Montreal press tour, my inner pint-sized self was like “I want this," followed by "mine.” And it's umpteen times better than my poster, especially since it's ... drumroll ... updateable!
Basically, it's a three-dimensional globe that talks in four different languages. It comes with a USB cable allowing users to update the audio program, one that includes trivia challenges and various games and facts about different geographic locations. It also comes with a point-and-learn audio pen. Entertaining and educational at the same time, if this globe doesn't create a whole series of fresh neuronal connections in your child's brain, I don't know what will. Brilliant product.
Only caveat? From the reviews I've read, most were raves, with some adding that it was a great investment piece that could entertain kids for years. The minority who were less than pleased complained that this pricey toy was not as sturdy as expected or in some cases, was rattling in the wrong places when it came out of the box. That is why I'd highly recommend buying it in person to make sure it's in functional shape on location to spare any back-and-forth return shipping grief or warranty bickering, especially considering the price.
The Edu Science Intelliglobe, as spotted at Oink Oink in October 2012, retails at around $160. Recommended for ages 5 and up.