Inventive. Bold. MAXimum fun! (Picture book. 3-8)

MAX'S MATH

Max is back in the fourth in his eponymous series of concept books.

Whether he is building a car or riding in one, Max always keeps an eye out for numbers. At first, it’s simple adding that catches his fancy (2 wheels + 2 wheels = 4 wheels), but when he takes his car out, he discovers other math concepts when he has to choose to visit Shapeville or Count Town. A left sends him to Shapeville, where all the squares (including the town square) have been swept away by a storm. Max and his friends have a variety of math-y adventures in which they help find a missing zero so a rocket countdown can occur, learn to combine shapes to create new ones, sort socks, connect dots and discover the difference between a 9 and a 6. The quick-moving story is tied together by Max’s fascination with numbers and math. Kulikov’s rich, textured paintings are filled with details that extend the story and invite young mathematicians to stop and examine Max’s fantastic world. Here is a cow covered with numbers instead of spots, and there are fields made of graph paper. Shapeville, with its two-dimensional inhabitants, is especially compelling, and it’s easy to imagine youngsters arranging their blocks into new shapes as Max does. Clever teachers will find plenty of curricular connections, too.

Inventive. Bold. MAXimum fun! (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-34875-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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