A solid foundation for beginners or re-teaching tool for those who are struggling. (Math picture book. 6-10)

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MYSTERY MATH

A FIRST BOOK OF ALGEBRA

Adler and Miller have once again turned out a thorough explanation of a math concept in a neat package (Fractions, Decimals, and Percents, 2010, etc.).

This time they tackle the much-feared topic of algebra, starting with the basics and working up from there. Throughout, Adler introduces and then consistently uses mathematical vocabulary. He begins with a balanced seesaw as a simile for an algebraic equation, then leads readers from simple equations (4 + X = 5) that they can solve just by looking at equations in which they have to perform each of the four orders of operation. Easy-to-understand mathematical notations guide readers through the solution to each problem, which are originally posed as word problems involving two children, Mandy and Billy, and Igor, the caretaker of a haunted house. The Halloween theme echoes the idea of algebra as the solving of mathematical mysteries, and Miller’s digital artwork ups the ante with a palette strong on blacks, dark blues and lime greens. Bats, black cats and skeletons abound, and Igor himself has green skin à la Frankenstein's monster. Backmatter includes instructions on making a balance scale and weights from common household materials.

A solid foundation for beginners or re-teaching tool for those who are struggling. (Math picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2289-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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