THE BIG BUCK ADVENTURE

This sprightly rhyming excursion into buying power puts lie to the notion that economics is by nature a dreary topic. When the first-person narrator is given a raise in allowance, visions of new purchases fill her head. As she shops the store’s candy, toy, deli, and pet departments, she is overwhelmed by the multiplicity of deals offered by eager merchants—ample opportunity to figure out the best deal mathematically. “A penny for your thoughts,” says one merchant as the girl opts for something really unusual—to spend not a cent, and to tuck her money into a bank at home, but only after a nicely turned pitch of her own: “Why you can have one hundred/of my thoughts for a dollar!/Ten thoughts for a dime,/five for a nickel/twenty-five thoughts/for a sour dill pickle.” If the value of money is in its possibilities, rather than its purchases, readers, too, will be relieved when the girl leaves the store. Lin’s illustrations make the mayhem memorable in an easy book to pair with Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Math Curse (1995). (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-294-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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CLICKETY CLACK

A train load of wild and wacky animals gets so noisy that the engineer has to shout to get them to quiet down. The little black train picks up yaks, acrobats, a troupe of ducks, and stomping elephants as passengers. But when two mice that are in to fireworks climb aboard, the engineer threatens to stop the whole train. “ ‘Keep it down!’ yells Driver Zach. ‘You’re giving me a headache attack!’ “ Everyone quickly hushes up, and soon, “the only sound you hear, in fact,/is the sound of the wheels on the railroad track. Clickety clack, clickety clack.” The words bounce along to the rhythm of a train on its way, and the swell of the sound effects makes this a joy to read aloud. Spengler’s robust illustrations capture an antic cast of passengers, conveying the action as much through composition as color. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-87946-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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HOW MANY CANDLES?

PLB 0-688-16259-2 Time is relative, as Griffith’s pleasingly droll story makes clear, especially when a cat, a dog, a turtle, and a couple gnats get together to compare longevity. The dog, Alex, has made a cake for his friend, Robbie, a boy turning ten who never appears in these pages. A cat notes that Robbie’s years equal about 70 of hers, while a turtle figures that the same number equals about 8 of his years, because he can live to be 100. Two gnats buzz in to check on the doings, and they can’t even begin to comprehend the very notion of ten years—“ ‘Well, they’re gnats,’ said the cat. ‘Ten years to a boy is one billion years to a gnat.’ “ As Alex tries to determine how many candles are needed for each new configuration, the cat sniffs the cake: “This seems to be made of dog biscuits,” and the higher mathematics are put on the back burner while some sheer tomfoolery comes to the fore. This is a delightful exploration of dry humor and number-juggling, accompanied by some elegantly funny artwork. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16258-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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