This is how learning math should be—painless, comical and, yes, spectacular.


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)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2320-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.


A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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