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THIS PLUS THAT by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Kirkus Star


Life's Little Equations

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & illustrated by Jen Corace

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-172655-2
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

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)