The vaudevillian Wing Wing Brothers’ attempts to outdo and upstage each other are sure to cause some giggles…and ideally some math learning, as well.
Act 1 is all about comparing amounts and introduces children to the equal, less-than and greater-than signs. Wendell and Wilmer try to one-up each other in the number of spinning plates they are able to balance. In the end, 10=10 predictably becomes 0=0. Act 2 focuses on addition and subtraction and stars Willy, who holds one pie. His brothers each try to nail him with more pies, but he just adds them to his juggling act. When Willy is juggling 4+1=5 pies, the slapstick ending (and subsequent subtraction problem) is not hard to guess. The third act mixes up the addition and subtraction problems with a magic box that causes the brothers to appear and disappear. When all the brothers disappear into the box, green clouds give a hint as to the final slapstick joke. Long seems to know just how long to draw out the shtick so it doesn’t lose readers’ attention, ending on a comical high note. His humorous illustrations—black pencil outlines with digital color that are reminiscent of Mo Willems’ pigeon—will keep kids riveted with the birds’ fantastically expressive faces.
This is how learning math should be—painless, comical and, yes, spectacular. (Math picture book. 4-8)