The frolicsome verse and efficacious design combine to highlight a precise exercise, making this concept picture book a...

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DOUBLE PLAY

MONKEYING AROUND WITH ADDITION

This jaunty rhyme set in a school playground serves as a playful introduction to the mathematical concept of doubling.

Jill and Jake, monkey friends, join their other animal classmates at recess to gallop, race, climb, jump rope, kick ball and blow bubbles, while coupling their playtime antics with matching addition equations. When they hang from the monkey bars “with just their knees, / they grip the bars. / They’re upside-downside / circus stars,” proving “2 knees + 2 knees = 4 knees.” Children accustomed to the play-to-learn environment of today’s curriculum will cheerily join in the fun with this precursor to multiplication that extends the math lesson to the pleasures of physical activity. Full-bleed double-page watercolor spreads offer a variety of playground scenes, each with a different equation to encompass the doubling sums of the numerals 1-10. Children will easily grasp the concept of mathematical equations as they readily count items clearly depicted in each scene and offered on the endpapers.

The frolicsome verse and efficacious design combine to highlight a precise exercise, making this concept picture book a twofold success. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-384-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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It breaks no new ground, but even the worms are smiling.

ONE LITTLE LOT

THE 1-2-3S OF AN URBAN GARDEN

One empty lot needs two helping hands, three days of cleanup, and so on to become a community garden “full of delicious!”

In, mostly, aerial or elevated views, Vidal’s bright, painted illustrations track the lot’s transformation from a (tidy-looking, admittedly) dumping ground behind a rusty chain-link fence. Echoing the multiethnic and multiracial nature of the group of neighbors who gather to do the work (white-presenting figures are in the minority), the eventual crops include bok choy, collard greens, and kittley along with beans, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes—all of which end up incorporated in the climactic spread into a community dinner spread out on tables among the planting boxes. Typically of such garden-themed picture-book tributes, the spirit of community and joy at the eventual bounty elbow out any real acknowledgement of the necessary sweat equity (there’s not even a glancing reference to weeding here, for instance) or the sense of an entire season’s passing between planting and harvest. Also, as that public feast is created by considerably more than “Ten newfound friends,” the counting is just a conceit. Mullen closes with notes on the actual garden in Minneapolis that inspired her and on making gardens bee-friendly.

It breaks no new ground, but even the worms are smiling. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-58089-889-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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SUMMER

AN ALPHABET ACROSTIC

In the wake of Autumn (1997) and Spring (1999) come 26 more seasonal scenes, accompanying ingenious acrostic poems: "Blankets and umbrellas, / Endless miles of sand, / And one / Constant / Hum of wind and waves." In serene, neatly composed linoleum cuts filled with subtly modulated colors trimmed by the perfect use of the black line, Evans depicts shoreline and small town, gazebo, luxuriant gardens, and a picnic table crowded with goodies, all laid out for the enjoyment of a multiethnic cast of young folk. "Zigzag lines / Of stars / Divide the heavens / Into / Autumn's twinkling / Constellations," over a backyard campout to signal summer's end. It's another tour de force, as blissfully evocative as it is technically accomplished. Should be inspiration for classrooms, poets, and wordworkers. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-618-02372-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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