More contrived than other books addressing the same concept; still, the familiar characters may help readers take the lesson...

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SIR CUMFERENCE AND THE OFF-THE-CHARTS DESSERT

A MATH ADVENTURE

From the Sir Cumference series

The latest in Neuschwander’s medieval mathematical series explores bar graphs and pie charts.

When the royal cook falls ill, Lady Di of Ameter and her husband, Sir Cumference, must not only judge the Harvest Faire sweet contest, but also find bakers to bake the confections. Luckily, their town boasts two bakers: Pia of Chartres and Bart Graf. But their desserts are so good the royal couple cannot choose one over the other. They instruct the pair to give away free samples of their top sellers and keep track of the townspeople’s votes. After several (repetitive) attempts at keeping track of votes fail, each comes up with a recording system that works. Bart makes piles of cookie molds—one for each vote—while Pia places a different colored sweetmeat around the edges of a pie crust. In the end, the two present their findings—a bar graph and a pie chart showing a tie for first—to the rulers, along with a new dessert they concocted together, a clear winner. Geehan’s acrylic illustrations play up the stereotypical medieval clothing and setting, both he and the author eschewing accuracy for the storyline.

More contrived than other books addressing the same concept; still, the familiar characters may help readers take the lesson to heart. (Math picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-57091-198-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A treasure house of mysteries large and small.

EVERYBODY COUNTS

A COUNTING STORY FROM 0 TO 7.5 BILLION

This Norwegian import is guaranteed to silence boastful Where’s Waldo grads.

It opens on a woodsy nature scene for zero, “No one,” before moving to a deceptively simple one (1) child in a bedroom who next joins his dad (2) for a forest outing. The count continues—by single digits to 30, then by various intervals to 1,000—on to depict crowd scenes in locales ranging from a library to a life drawing class, with many individualized figures (of diverse body type, skin tone, and hair texture and color) recurring. Inconspicuous captions below each picture offer either pointers to subtle visual cues or invitations to speculate about what they see. Of the 20 children in a classroom, for instance, “One of them is thinking about all the people who’ve lived before us. One of them has lost the class teddy bear. One of them is dreading football training. One of them will become prime minister.” Roskifte supplies some solutions, along with additional scenarios, at the close. She also gives viewers a bit of an assist by coloring in her small, doll-like humans throughout but leaving everything else as pale outlines. Switching at the end to a big blue marble floating in space, she rounds off the numbering with 7.5 billion followed by a barrage of leading questions, from what became of that lost teddy to lifelong posers, including the poignant “Does everyone share the same truth?”

A treasure house of mysteries large and small. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4524-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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