MATH POTATOES

MIND-STRETCHING BRAIN FOOD

The seventh in a line of verse math-terpieces that began with Grapes of Math (2001), this offers 16 problem-solving shortcuts that involve grouping numbers or items. Tang not only provides answers and methods in a closing key, he is generous with hints. Opposite digitally worked, color-coded arrays of anywhere from 30 to 148 stars, sea shells, spiders, pickles, the titular potatoes, playing cards and the like, his verses open with a pair of lively introductory couplets, set the problem with a third, then suggest an approach in the fourth: “Can you add up these poor souls / For whom the bell already tolls? / In groups of ten you’ll hear their cries, / ‘Please don’t turn us into fries!’ ” Even numerically challenged readers can count on coming away with some time and labor saving techniques for toting things up. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-439-44390-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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CORNFLAKES

Picking up where his third gathering of poetry and pictures (Candy Corn, 1999) left off, Stevenson gives wry or gently sentimental twists to 25 more everyday sights: fathers and sons in the park; bicyclists; old people and buildings; his paintbox; his wastebasket; a mountainous hamburger. As usual, he is fondest of collections, depicting sets of salt-and-pepper shakers, piles of garbage bags (“dressed in black, / wearing bow ties, / ready for the opera.`), an upside down forest of guitars hanging from a music store ceiling, and the like, with slapdash brush or pen work that captures essences with brilliant, offhand precision. The poems are equally casual, equally right, presented in a lively and attractive variety of type sizes, fonts, and colors. Tailor-made for sharing, in class or on a lap. (Poetry. 7-9, adult)

Pub Date: March 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16718-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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THE BUG IN TEACHER'S COFFEE

AND OTHER SCHOOL POEMS

PLB 0-06-027940-0 Dakos’s collection of 23 poems from the perspective of items found at school satisfies the I Can Read requirements of simplicity and word repetition, but may not lure beginning readers back for a second time. The material is uninspiring: The school’s front door says, “Keep me shut,/I have the flu,/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Achooooooooo!/Keep me shut,/I have the flu.” A book sings “Happy Birthday” to a ruler, then sings “Happy Unbirthday” when the ruler says that it is not its birthday. Also appearing are a couple of clever items—one on a kidnapped pencil and another on a comb pulling hazardous duty—along with some typographic elements that amiably convey the idea that words are malleable; Reed’s illustrations possess geniality and character, making some inanimate objects very personable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027939-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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