Estimating and rounding: two great, everyday mathematical tools.
We round and estimate all the time; they’re right up there with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Adler brings a no-nonsense approach to the subjects, sometimes a little too much so, letting the narrative go flat at the expense of tinder-dry precision. “For most purposes, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer. But it’s not an exact answer.” Even the inclusion of the contractions doesn’t lighten those sentences. And there is also a measure of disconnect between Miller’s artwork, with its Candyland playfulness and large population of dinosaurs, and the audience, some of who will be nigh approaching junior high school. On the other hand, he has a good gender and racial mix among the humans, who participate via speech bubbles. Adler’s text overcomes its occasional drab presentation by stressing the utter usefulness and pleasure of rounding and estimating. They allow us to have a sense whether or not we are in the ballpark numberwise, and they can be just plain fun in gaining an idea of how numbers relate to the real world, both for amusement and to grasp time and space: estimate the steps to a friend’s house and how long that will take.
There are a few arid patches and some illustration-audience mismatch, but the value—and enjoyment—of rounding and estimating courses through it. (Picture book. 6-10)