Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MULTIPLY ON THE FLY by Suzanne Slade


by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Erin E. Hunter

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60718-128-6
Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Rhyming verse presents buggy word problems that can all be solved using multiplication.

With a rhythm and rhyme that never falter, Slade offers readers insect-themed word problems: “Four hungry honey bees / dance a buggy beat— / tappin’ with six furry legs. / How many dancing feet? / 4 x 6 = ?” The 11 multiplication facts, seemingly randomly chosen, each include one of the numbers from one to 11. While no doubt good practice the first time through, it precludes repeated readings and incorporates only a smattering of facts. Hunter, with specialties in entomological and botanical illustration, truly makes the text come alive. Her insects are realistically detailed and seem ready to crawl right out of the pages. But while they are fascinating to look at, they are not always the easiest to use as counters in answering the problems. The ladybug spots and walking stick parts are too small to count, and for those not in the know, the soldier ants appear to have only one pair of eyes rather than the five eyes of the math problem. Backmatter includes extensive information and questions to help readers learn more about insects. A final page provides a multiplication table as well as a breakdown of each problem from the text.

In trying to do too much, this title may leave readers with too little. (Math picture book. 8-10)