When paired with adult guidance, a “valuable” look at place value.

PLACE VALUE

Adler tackles yet another difficult math concept using simple language and an excellent comparison.

Just as “A is both a word and a letter,” “1 is both a number and a digit.” Both letters and digits have to be carefully placed in order to express what the writer wants: “cafe” and “face” use the same letters but are most certainly not the same word, and 216 and 621 are different numbers that use the same digits. Using place-value charts throughout (repeated on the front and back endpapers) that highlight in red the individual digits Adler is focusing on, the digital illustrations depict a bunch of smiling monkeys as they follow a recipe to bake a Colossal Banana Cupcake—colossal so as to use the big numbers Adler is describing. On two facing pages, Miller shows towers of eggs—216 white ones and 621 brown ones—divided into hundreds, tens, and ones. Though the hundreds stack of white eggs is 20 tall and the brown one, 25 tall, still readers get the idea that 600 is much greater than 200. When introducing numbers containing decimals, Adler turns to money and gives a good explanation of our number system’s history. Throughout, Adler teaches not only the place value, but also how the numbers should be read—there is no “and” in 6,324, but there is one in 632.4.

When paired with adult guidance, a “valuable” look at place value. (Math picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3550-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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