This Plus That: Life's little Equations


What comes after 1 + 1?

Just about anything!

In this fanciful collection, Amy Krouse Rosenthal puts together unexpected combinations that always add up to something special. Whether it's "wishes + frosting = birthday" or "birds + buds = spring," each equation is a small delight. This Plus That shows again and again that life's total experience is always greater than the sum of its parts.

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What comes after 1 + 1?

Just about anything!

In this fanciful collection, Amy Krouse Rosenthal puts together unexpected combinations that always add up to something special. Whether it's "wishes + frosting = birthday" or "birds + buds = spring," each equation is a small delight. This Plus That shows again and again that life's total experience is always greater than the sum of its parts.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rosenthal continues her run of inspired ideas with another collaboration with Corace (Little Pea). Here, in an exercise calculated to delight, she ditches the boring numbers in math equations for words. Two pigtailed girls squabble, then reason with each other. The outcome is a simple sum: "yes + no = maybe." The same two girls gossip through a tin-can telephone: "laughter + keeping secrets + sharing = best friend." Witty observations—"anything + sprinkles = better"—alternate with improving messages as well as nods to the seasons, arts, and kid-friendly activities. "Mumbling + toe staring ≠ polite" accompanies the awkward introduction of one of the pigtailed girls to the other's mother; on the next page, with "handshake + 'how are you' = polite," the girl does better. Corace's stylized pen and ink vignettes show a world that's safe and secure; the same family members appear throughout ("tall + coffee = grown-up"), and the activities give evidence of cherished routines ("cozy + smell of pancakes – alarm clock = weekend"). It's the kind of math that children won't have any trouble comprehending. Ages 4–8. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Rosenthal's concept is a good one, but it doesn't translate well as a picture book. The author has created a hit-or-miss selection of "life's little equations," such as "laughter + keeping secrets + sharing = best friend" and "barefoot + screen door + popsicles = summer." Some of them work, but others are a stretch. Equations like "small + bottle = baby" and "leaves + hot soup = fall" may not make a lot of sense to young minds that process information in literal terms. The randomness of the selections and the tenuous connection between some of the variables are problematic. However, the illustrations are bright and cheerful and provide clues to help make the equations comprehensible. The book might function as a conversation starter between an adult and child, and Corace's images are enjoyable to peruse, but children aren't likely to gravitate to this head-scratcher by themselves.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Kirkus Reviews

You don't have to be a math whiz to enjoy these equations that explore many aspects of a child's daily life with surprising results, depending on what's added, subtracted or divided.

One plus one does not equal two; rather, "1 + 1 = us" as two little girls hug to become "us." Colors blend together on the page to show how "red + blue = purple," "blue + yellow = green" and "yellow + red = orange," while droplets of each color cascade down the page to prove that all colors added together equal a rainbow. Altering a component triggers different results. A "smile + wave = hello," but a "smile + ocean wave = beach." "Chalk + sitting = school," but "chalk + jumping = hopscotch." The minimalist text, presented in the form of equations, and the simple, light-hearted watercolor, pen and ink illustrations, featuring the same children throughout, function symbiotically. The opaque equation "(snow + carrot) + rosy cheeks = winter" makes plenty of sense with its illustration of a child bundled in a snowsuit taking a bite out of a snowman's carrot nose. Surprising in their variety, the equations range from the sublime ("soul + color = art") to the ridiculous ("balloon + wind = lost").

Clever premise + artful execution = sure winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061726552
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 152,094
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a New York Times bestselling author of books for children and grown-ups. Her children's books include Plant a Kiss (illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds); Little Pea and This Plus That (Jen Corace); Cookies: Bit-Size Life Lessons (Jane Dyer); Duck! Rabbit!, The OK Book, Yes Day!, and Exclamation Mark (Tom Lichtenheld); Spoon and Chopsticks (Scott Magoon); The Wonder Book (Paul Schmid); Uni the Unicorn (Brigette Barrager); and Awake Beautiful Child (Gracia Lam). Her work for grown-ups includes the memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and the film project The Beckoning of Lovely. Amy lives online at and for real in Chicago.

Jen Corace is an artist and freelance illustrator who lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. Originally from the suburbs of southern New Jersey, she eventually made her way to the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BFA in illustration. Jen has previously collaborated with Amy Krouse Rosenthal on Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Hoot.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Highly Recommended, Adorable book

    I haven't seen a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal that I didn't like, but this one was an instant favorite. There's a YouTube trailer for this book that gives a very good description, as well. Very, very cute book. We got it at the library and I bought it right away because we had to have it in our collection.

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