Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The porcine stars of Pigs from 1 to 10 teach kids to do as the Romans do in this numerical excursion. As Geisert exhorts readers to "count the number of pigs to find the value of [the seven single-letter Roman numerals]," pale pink pigs proliferate, romping on jungle gyms and seesaws, swimming, splashing, until, upon reaching "M," the pages are swarming. Parental guidance may be needed for those readers who lose count of the pigs on the way to 1000. Once the basics are conquered, Geisert explains how to add and subtract numbers to make other numbers (e.g., VIII). Again the pigs demonstrate, in a fancifully conceived barnyard cum playground setting rendered in Geisert's characteristically subdued palette. The mathematical adventure continues as readers practice newly acquired skills by hunting down XV balloons, IX ducks in a pond, etc.; the spreads become more colorful as piglets take to the air in festive balloons and head off on a field trip. As always, Geisert's detailed etchings reward extended perusal, and children will revel in the sheer abundance of pigs. A great lesson in Roman numerals, this book scores a certain X. All ages. (Apr.)
This book uses somber-toned illustrations of pigs to teach Roman numerals, and readers can count the pigs to learn the corresponding numeral. The counting starts at one pig and goes up to two thousand pigs! The rules for writing and reading Roman numerals are explained. A great aspect of this book is that every numeral, every rule, and every exception to this rule has an illustrated example. As each page passes, more and more pigs are added, and they travel off from the farm into town, from a garden over to a salvage yard. Along the way, every object the pigs see can be used to practice counting with Roman numerals. Even the page numbers in this book are cited in Roman numerals. The book was awarded a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year for 1996. The illustrations are detailed but subdued. This picture book is suitable for the older elementary student practicing Roman numeral concepts as well as any child who adores numbers of all kinds. 2001 (orig. 1996), Houghton Mifflin Co, Ages 8 to 12.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Arthur Geisert who's shown us much about the world with his tiny, detailed drawings of pigs, now has his porcine favorites wander through the world showing off Roman Numerals. Ever playful, Geisert makes learning fun by having children search the pictures for examples of the concepts he briefly describes. This is the kind of book that makes adults envious. Where was Geisert when we faced the drudgery of learning?
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
They outlasted the Empire and the language of their times. Roman Numerals remain a concrete component in elementary math programs nationwide. While teachers have no trouble introducing the concept, there has certainly been a shortage of areas to practice the rapid adding and subtracting necessary to master this ancient counting method. Geisert's brief text in this effort is a tad dry, but his tiny piglet pictures are mind-boggling. There are actually-count 'em-a thousand puny porkers on the page explaining the "M". Each page, numbered so appropriately, becomes a delightful opportunity for drill. Overall, judges give it an VIII.
Children's Literature - Karen Saxe
Intricate etchings of piglets depict the seven symbols of Roman numerals (I, V, X, L, C, D, and M) and numerous combinations of them. The text explains how Roman numbers are generated using addition and subtraction, for example with CC and IX respectively. Each numeral is accompanied by an etching with the correct number of piglets. Amazingly, there is one with M piglets!
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3Children who learned their numbers from Geisert's Pigs from 1 to 10 (Houghton, 1992) can now move on to trickier fare with the author's latest offering. If there's one thing this book has, it's pigs-MMMDCCCLXIV of them. In addition to lots of useful information about Roman numerals (such as how to subtract a smaller number if it is before a larger one, and add it if it is after), the artist creates a lively learning experience by featuring picture puzzles in which children must count the pigs to determine the value of a numeral. This process is fairly straightforward for I, V, and X, but becomes downright hilarious for L, C, D, and M. The joyful, squealing menagerie continues from page to page, adding and dropping companions in a numeric frenzy. The searches become more challenging as the book progresses, prompting readers to find (in addition to XXXVII pigs) XIX trees or XXVIII fence posts. There is plenty of visual detail for early-elementary age children to pore over, and Geisert is careful to be methodical and predictable in his examples (though he is appropriately mysterious when it comes to more involved scenes). This book might do for Roman numerals (and for pigs) what Carmen Sandiego did for geography: highlight the spontaneous humor and enjoyment in an unrightfully maligned topic.Jennifer Fleming, Boston Public Library
This introduction to roman numerals challenges children to learn a new (well, actually an "old") system of writing and reading numbers. Like the best foreign-language teachers, Geisert avoids translation and encourages his readers to figure out the meaning of the roman numerals. He teaches the concept through the concrete use of pictures of piglets at play, beginning with slender, vertical panels illustrating I, V, X pigs, up to double-page spreads crowded with D and even M pigs. The later pages challenge readers to decipher roman numerals that have been combined to create useful numbers, either by using the Roman system or by counting objects in the pictures: XXVIII fence posts, VII clouds, or VL pigs. Geisert's etchings, tinted with washes, make lively and beautifully detailed illustrations for this unusual book.
Geisert (Haystack, 1995, etc.) draws upon legions of diminutive pigs to demonstrate the meanings and construction of roman numerals; tubby porculi trot and tusslein swarms for the larger numbersabout farmyards, a playground, parkland, and a rather scanty junkyard. His distinctive color etchings have a muted cast, but every figure is sharply defined; readers can count the hundreds of piggies on the D and M spreadsplus other objects elsewhere, from water tanks to birdsfor themselves. Each scene is captioned with either a numeral, an explanation, or a list. Boggling even the most careful eye (resulting in a typo in the case of "XXII Big balloons," when no more than XII are shown), this curiosity may bemuse more than it educates, but it does give graphic expression to some huge numbers, and so may find a use beyond the alphanumeric byway it explores.