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THE SUNDAE SCOOP by Stuart J. Murphy


by Stuart J. Murphy & illustrated by Cynthia Jabar

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-028924-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

More math that kids—and not a few adults—can relate to, from the master of math concepts. Here he tackles combinations via a story of kids making sundaes at a school picnic. First the kids discuss the number of ice creams, sauces, and toppings they will use, drawing a chart to illustrate the possibilities aptly rendered in the playful pastel, disheveled artwork that looks just like a sundae. Murphy (Bigger, Better, Best, p. 1138, etc.) plays the concept like a slide trombone: Up, up the number of potential combinations mount, and then, as the kids commence to dish out the goods at the picnic, the options start to drop down, down as the sprinkles tip over and the chocolate ice cream melts and the caramel gets spilled. The chill that the words “combinational analysis” send through the bones is chased away by the clarity of Murphy’s diagramming, flow charts that show just how many different sundaes might be ordered. As always in the MathStart series, Murphy supplies a number of activity ideas that extend and embellish upon the concepts being introduced as well as a short bibliography. Be prepared to head for the freezer. (Picture book/math. 6-9)