An elephant tot stacks wooden blocks to measure height.
Elephant’s block play is just like young readers’: Elephant kneels, crouches, and stands in the course of building towers that equal their own height. A smile and wide-thrown arms express joy and satisfaction with a job well-done. And when the inevitable oops happens, the reaction is also believable: eyes shut tight, mouth a downward bow, and tears…unless it was a purposeful “crash-boom.” But Elephant is not one to give up easily, and they learn through play that one extra-long block, two rectangular blocks, four square blocks on their ends, and eight square blocks on their faces are all the same height. Chatterton’s illustrations combine collaged-in photos of real wooden blocks; an expressive blue cartoon elephant with a purple shirt, dot eyes, and rosy cheeks; and basic backgrounds—either white space or a yellow wall and green carpet separated by a white baseboard. Unlike many other math titles, there is no note to parents or teachers and no directions to kids—it’s just a simple tale of a child exploring with blocks.
Elephant’s pure joy in exploration and success are sure to be catching, so make sure the blocks are close at hand. (Picture book. 3-7)