Books by Elinor J. Pinczes

ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 30, 2002

Pinczes (Inchworm and a Half, 2001, etc.) pulls off another neat math trick using numbers—in this case a swarm of fireflies—to explain the geometry of a square. A bullfrog sits on a lily pad and reads aloud by the light of the full moon. Fireflies gather to hear him read. When the moon is obscured by clouds, four daring fireflies move into formation above the bullfrog—not too close—to give him some reading light. "Ah, thanks for the gesture. I know you mean well, / but your two by two square is too small, I can tell." So more rows are added, filling out squares each time. "Another group swooped in a loop-de-loop dive / until twenty-five lights were lined up, five by five." When 100 fireflies take their positions, the glow is too fierce. The frog's eyes nearly bug out of his head. So the fireflies move off a distance to form a wonderful square moon of their own making. A simple piece of math, elegantly conveyed, with appealing rhyme and characters to match. Enos's linocuts are terrifically executed, with clots of saturated color and firefly light as bright and sharp as lemon zest. Talent squared. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2001

Pinczes, who has a knack for turning math into quietly comic entertainment, takes on fractions with her usual deft touch. Here she uses an inchworm as a measuring device. The pleasing little creature, illustrated in linocuts with deep-dyed colors, noodles about the garden measuring zucchini, eggplants, and snow peas (this is as much a vegetable primer as a sally into parts of a whole). But then she hits a snag: "One day the unthinkable happens: / ‘My measurement's off just a bit. / One, two, nearly three! How could this be? / There's no way I could possibly fit.' " Out of the blue drops a short worm, a half-inch one, who fills the bill. They, too, are ultimately flummoxed in their merry measurements, until a third-inch worm shuffles up. "To equal one loop by the inchworm, / the second worm had to loop twice. / For accuracy, the third worm looped three. / ‘I'm a one-third-inch fraction, how nice!' " The math goes down like sweet syrup, fitted out as it is in handsome artwork and dulcet rhyme, with nary a digit anywhere to spark that old math anxiety. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1995

With a lively rhyme matched by its antic, woodcut-like illustrations, this book introduces children to the concept of division and remainders. Joe the ant wants to march in the Queen's parade, but is left out as the 25 ants in his squadron are divided into lines of two, three, and four. Finally, Joe divides the ants into five perfect lines, with no remainder, and can march past the Queen. MacKain's use of color and vibrating line keeps things moving, and this is a fun introduction to a basic mathematical precept, but it may be premature. Most children won't actually study the subject until well after they've outgrown the appeal of this book. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >