Last year’s Long and Tall 123 Rocket Ship puzzle by The Learning Journey International was such a hit that I knew their newest five foot puzzle would grab the attention of a 4 year-old and her grandma! Grandma and grand daughter were a perfect team as they started with the zebra and worked their way up to smaller animals, “I see the bottom fringe,” Grandma knew just how to use a puzzle for language learning, “A hoof goes on the bottom of…” as her granddaughter replied, “A deer. ”  “I see the tippity tip of the opposite end!”  The 50 pieces were easily manipulated by little hands while the illustrations guided the connecting pieces. With lots to describe, this puzzle showed a monkey hanging from rope, lizard curled up, toucan flying over, and a rhino standing on an elephant! Well illustrated puzzles provide a fun social experience as well as language learning as participants chat about parts and wholes of the design and what is still missing. At the end, my little friend lay down next to the puzzle, amazed that she had completed a puzzle longer than she was!

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