A quirky approach to math that should spur divergent thinking

READ REVIEW

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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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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