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)