In the bears’ third outing, the counters, classroom staple that they are, invite readers to follow the cadence of the familiar jump-rope rhyme and answer some simple math questions.
McGrath fixes the who’s-my-audience problem that plagued Teddy Bear Math (2011) by returning to the youngest math learners, but her focus could still use some tightening. Readers are challenged to count, then skip-count, identify a group of four, and tell whether there are fewer of this color or that one. A balance scale allows children to identify which of two bears weighs more. Readers are also asked to tell which group has more than five, complete two different patterns, and solve one addition and one subtraction problem. Throughout, McGrath’s rhyming verses may encourage audiences to do more than math: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, / a great big laugh. / Which teddy bear / is a bear in half?” The scattershot approach does not go deeply into any one math concept or afford readers any sense of continuity or pattern. As in the previous two titles, Nihoff’s bears coordinate well with the text; this time his hand-drawn digital illustrations are accompanied by collaged found objects.
Cutesy, but ultimately lacking in substance—there is little here that will draw children (or teachers) for a second reading. (Math picture book. 3-6)