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by Betsy Franco & illustrated by Steven Salerno

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-84357-7
Publisher: McElderry

Franco adds to her mathematical oeuvre with this clever collection of poems written in the form of equations and grouped by seasonal themes. The first, for example, is vertical-like addition. “Crisp air / shadows tall / cat’s thick coat / signs of fall.” Another has few words (“orchard, baskets, ripeapples”), but it is presented as a division problem and reads “orchard divided by baskets = ripeapples.” Salerno’s illustrations, rendered in watercolor and gouache, with bright colors and broad, grainy brush strokes, have a nostalgic feel. In one full-bleed spread, green and yellow frogs leap from forest-green lily pads with pink and yellow water lilies. Raindrops streak the page, making circular splats in the blue pond. Except for the use of mathematical symbols and forms, this really has nothing to do with math; there are no problems to solve. Without some mathematical knowledge, however, the poems lose meaning. By incorporating the language of mathematics, Franco pushes readers to view the poems through a different lens—and with a more critical eye. (author’s note) (Poetry. 8-10)