A quirky approach to math that should spur divergent thinking

ANTS RULE

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

Ants as a unit of measurement?

In Barner’s wonderful, Eric Carle–like collages, ants are 1 inch long (as represented with yellow-and-black rulers that run along the bottoms of some pages). The ants are compared to other insects (familiarly called “bugs”) in charts, graphs, and different presentations of data. Words and pictures are used to help young learners make size comparisons. As the ants create an amusement-park ride for the Blowout Bug Jamboree, they busily measure their friends: “Caterpillar is four ants long. Bee is two ants long. Ladybug is one ant long.” These size relationships are presented on a chart and then discussed in dialogue bubbles by the ants. For the youngest mathematicians, this repetition will reinforce the concept. Older kids in this age group or those readers who grasp new ideas quickly may get bored, but then new insects are introduced, and the illustrations in varied formats will keep viewers involved. A pie chart showing the number of insects that will attend the jamboree helps to answer the question: “How many of each kind of bug will come?” The answer is used by the industrious ants to construct their masterpiece, brilliantly rolled out in a gatefold at the end of the book: a Blowout Bug Jamboree Buggy-go-round! (Unfortunately, one ladybug seems to be missing.)

A quirky approach to math that should spur divergent thinking . (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3660-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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As brilliant as can be.

SUN FLOWER LION

A sun, a flower, and a lion. They look similar, no?

Introduced in a wordless panel before the title page, the three figures bear at least two shapes in common. They’re also the same combination of warm yellow and (somehow just as warm) white, outlined in thick black line that pops against the muted yellow background. The text, divided into six short chapters, goes on to introduce the figures in isolation: “This is the sun. / Can you see it?” the narrator asks before going on to proclaim that the sun “is as bright as a flower.” When the flower is introduced, it’s compared to a lion. The lion? He isn’t compared to anything but instead smells the flower and warms himself in the sun. In the next chapter, the lion dreams that the flowers are sun-sized cookies. He wakes up hungry and runs home as fast as he can. Can readers spot him on the page? Using a vocabulary of fewer than 60 words and their variants—and a visual vocabulary of even fewer shapes and colors—Henkes creates an impeccably designed story that’s rewarding for toddlers and early readers alike. The repetitive structure and tone call to mind the playful simplicity of Mem Fox and Judy Horacek’s Where Is the Green Sheep? (2004). With imagination at its center, this participatory read-aloud also cleverly introduces the concept of simile (“It looks like a lion”) and metaphor (“The flowers are cookies”).

As brilliant as can be. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286610-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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