Some may find this simplistic and oversold, but a few highly industrious parents and creative teachers, eager to more fully...

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MATH AT THE ART MUSEUM

From the TanTan Math Story series

An ambitious picture-book introduction to the underlying mathematical principles that can be discovered in a major art museum.

It almost works. Part of the new-to-the–U.S. TanTan Math Story series, its premise is simple. A family of four (mother, father, sister, brother) visits a large museum that advertises a major exhibition called (coincidentally) “Discover Math in Art.” Once inside, they tour the carefully structured exhibition galleries and begin to make mathematical and artistic discoveries and connections. A number of familiar paintings are introduced along with their underlying mathematical dimensions: Jasper Johns’ 0 Through 9 shows numerals; Seurat’s work demonstrates dots; while Kandinsky and Leger evidence geometric shapes. Changing point of view can be seen via Degas’ dancers, while Picasso’s abstractions simultaneously incorporate various directions and angles. Distance, depth and even time (Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory) are also explored. Unfortunately the backmatter, featuring a few rudimentary follow-up activities, skimps on the art information. The book lacks a list of resources and further suggestions for more learning about either math or art.

Some may find this simplistic and oversold, but a few highly industrious parents and creative teachers, eager to more fully integrate the arts into Common Core curriculum, may find even these skimpy explorations invigorating. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939248-03-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: TanTan

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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