Trisha Shaskan skillfully separates a mathematical symbol from the operation it represents in this colorful book. She pulls intuition and the classroom together as she points out key words for a plus sign that are common in a child's vocabulary, while gently introducing "story problems" and the symbol's role in solving them. Francesca Carabelli's bright illustrations reinforce Shaskan's text well. Their depiction of the commutative property of addition—a crowned frog prince bounding over lily pads to escape a puckering damsel—is especially delightful. The author stresses how universal the sign is by emphasizing its function on both small and large numbers, which is a nice transition to more difficult problems. Rather than the enrichment activities usually included in the "Math Fun" series, this volume ends with a traditional, paper-and-pencil review of addition. While the review does refer back to specific illustrations in the book, it is a bit disappointing after the creativity and critical thinking skills the book tickles at its onset. Still, the book would make a helpful resource in the elementary classroom. A glossary, index, and additional resources are included. Reviewer: Carolyn Briles
When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a girl, she wanted to become a superhero. Her mother gave her a Wonder Woman costume. Her dad crafted her a tiara and bracelets out of metal to match. Trisha imagined she could fight evil, fly an invisible airplane, and get anyone to tell the truth. While she didn’t grow up to be Wonder Woman, she still uses her imagination to write stories and to teach creative writing.
Trisha has taught creative writing to children and adults for thirteen years. She has published 26 books for children, and more are forthcoming. She has an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Trisha currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Stephen, and their cat, Eartha, named after Eartha Kitt, famous for her role as Catwoman.
I always thought of books like a treasure chest, and the illustrations, like windows to look inside.
My mother says, I was born with a pencil in hand...my left hand. I drew before I was able to speak.
When I was eight years old, we moved into a new home, a big one. Our hobbies-room in this new home was so white that I had an idea. I decided to make it more colorful and I filled the walls with my characters. The ceiling was the only place that was not touched by my pencils. This was the beginning of my artist's freelance career.
Since then, my funny characters have stayed with me everywhere, at grade school first, then at University in Rome where I studied Art and Literature.
Now, the characters share the attic where I work, with me and my sweet black dog, Luna.
Growing up in a small town with no cable (and parents who were teachers), reading was the only thing to do. Since then, Christianne Jones has read about a bazillion books and written more than 50. Christianne works as an editor and lives in Minnesota with her husband and three daughters.