School Library Journal
(March 1, 2004; 0-439-45399-2)
PreS-Gr 1-Complete with catchy titles such as "Trying Times," "Midnight Snack," and "Gone with the Wind," each brief fable told in rhyme ends with a moral. Except for some suggested activities at the end, there are no math problems or puzzles to solve. Rather, the author strives to help readers learn how to see a number as a combination of smaller groups of numbers in order to lay "the foundation for place value" and as a "first step to building strong computational skills." The text and perky, computer-generated cartoons show youngsters that there are many different ways of putting numbers together. For example, in "Going Nuts," four squirrels frolic in autumn leaves until they realize they need provisions for winter. One begins to explore while three sit on a branch, frightened with worry. Next, "2 squirrels raced to gather nuts" while "the other 2- buried them in stashes underground." Finally, "all 4 slept very well that night,/no longer feeling scared./They learned it's wise to plan ahead/and always be prepared!" Cahoon keeps the different combinations together by enclosing them in ovals, visually emphasizing that although the groupings may look different, they still add up to four. Featuring words like "sultry," "wholeheartedly," and "procrastinate," the enriching vocabulary is an added bonus. A fine addition to math shelves.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
(February 23, 2004; 0-439-45399-2)
A number of spring picture books add to popular series. Continuing to make arithmetic fun, Math Fables by Greg Tang, illus. by Heather Cahoon, offers 10 rhymes about animals that teach a life lesson while demonstrating basic addition. For the number seven, "Gone with the Wind" traces the path of monarch butterflies to Mexico, using every possible combination of addends (5+2; 6+1; etc.): "Their journey would be very far,/ a thousand miles or more./ The monarchs flew both day and night/ in groups of 3 and 4." In addition, Tang extends readers' vocabulary ("albeit," "prudent," "sultry"). Cahoon's computer-generated illustrations once again bring personality and charm to the animals and settings. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
(February 1, 2004; 0-439-45399-2)
PreS-Gr. 1. As he did in Math Appeal BKL F 15 03, Tang introduces children to the wonders of grouping numbers. Each fable tells a rhyming story in a two- or four-page spread, with each setup more complex than the last. One of the first fables tells of two young birds. One bird takes wing and hits the ground, and the other one falls from the sky and nearly drowns. When the birds practice together, however, they both learn to fly. In another story, 10 beavers leave for work, regrouping and reorganizing their numbers all day. A final page offers ideas to help more accelerated learners combine groups of numbers in various ways. The bright, shiny artwork, executed on a computer, sometimes appears literally rough around the edges, but the target audience will like the illustrations' happy cartoon look. Like Tang's other books, this will engage children, who may not even realize they are learning. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2004 Booklist