HOW MANY BLUE BIRDS FLEW AWAY?

A COUNTING BOOK WITH A DIFFERENCE

The difference in this counting book is the difference—it’s all about subtraction. Future mathematicians will get great practice in not only counting and subtracting, but also in grouping and determining which items have similar attributes. As the narrator goes through his day, he asks questions about the things he sees, much like the little boy from Jon Scieszka’s Math Curse. When he removes an apple from the fruit bowl, he wonders: How many apples are there? How many oranges? How many more apples than oranges? At the bus stop, he ponders the numbers of hats versus gloves and the numbers of black and blue birds. The day’s subtracting finally ends as the narrator gazes up at the moon and stars. The wording on each page differs only in the objects observed, allowing youngsters to keep the focus on counting and finding the differences. Crews makes the attributes to be counted clear in his illustrations, but at the same time demonstrates the wide variety that can be found within categories: colors, shapes and sizes. An excellent addition to every primary teacher’s bookshelf or home library. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000762-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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