A solid Mouse Math entry that will help youngsters just beginning to add and subtract by ones and twos.

ALBERT ADDS UP!

From the Mouse Math series

When Wanda brings home the second of Captain Slime’s adventures from the library, Albert will offer her almost anything to get his paws on it.

Before Wanda even has her coat off, Albert is offering to let her play with “one of [his] favorite toys,” and he runs off to get it. Not letting her finish any of her sentences (which means he always gets the impression that she is saying no), he continually adds items to the ever growing pile: 1+1=2. The offerings grow increasingly wilder and more outlandish, from Albert’s pet worms to the giant birthday gumball (that’s not so much a ball anymore: “[Y]ou can chew it as much as you like before you give it back”). But Wanda is not impressed with any of them and doesn’t want to trade Captain Slime, so Albert slowly subtracts each item. Wanda finally gets a word in edgewise and admits she checked the book out for him all along. Melmon’s bright illustrations capture Albert’s enthusiasm as well as Wanda’s exasperation, and though the two are mice, their mouse hole will seem cozily familiar to readers. A publisher’s letter to parents and educators explains how Albert and Wanda can be an important part of math education for children, while the backmatter provides ways for adults and children to interact mathematically. A Mousy Mess, by Laura Driscoll but also illustrated by Melmon, publishes simultaneously.

A solid Mouse Math entry that will help youngsters just beginning to add and subtract by ones and twos. (Math picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-57565-744-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Press

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...

PUMPKIN COUNTDOWN

A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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