Friday, May 01, 2009

Ana's Picture Book(s) of the Week

We have some old favorites when it comes to Math picture books at home: The Anno Misumasa books, for instance, are all ingenious and fun, and there are lots of them. Another favorite is G is for Googol, which was an exciting addition to our shelves when it first came out.

Perusing through the Math titles in Picture Books at the library last week I found lots of books. Alas, most of them were, well, boring. Uninteresting. I brought a handful home to investigate and of those I found a few nice volumes! Here we go:

Math-terpieces, the art of problem solving by Greg Tang, 2003 Scholastic 32 pages.

I love almost anything that is integrated with Art. (Well, almost anything.) My younger homeschool students are all artistically oriented and if I integrate a subject with Art I get smiles. I am doing just that with History this semester with happy results: I provide a workpage with a theme and examples to be created and colored artistically for each chapter of Seton's The Catholic Faith Comes to The Americas.

This is a simple Math book for young ones: from each famous painting the clever illustrator took one element and displayed it on the facing pages in different sizes, colors, and groups. By grouping the elements in different ways, young Math students have a peek into the world of addition, multiplication and beyond. On the side, they will enjoy a quick tour of the art world in chronological order and some cute rhymed lines as well!

Piece=Part=Portion, Fractions =Decimals =Percent by Scott Gifford, 2003Tricycle Press, 32 pages, ISBN 1582461023.

There are lots of fraction books for kids out there with photos of every conceivable flavor of... Pizza. This book has the fractions, it has pizza, but thankfully it does not stop there! It provides a progression of various portions to a sliced--but intact--pizza representing the whole (1/1 = 1 = 100%). The connections it makes between the fractional part and its decimal and percentage representations is what makes it different, and useful. My kids have had a difficult time making this connection at home, perhaps because their own homeschool teacher suffers from the same ailment? In any event Piece=Part-Portion, as my husband happily agrees, does this job well.

One page shows one egg in a egg carton: the facing pages says "1/12 of a dozen eggs, .09, 8 %". The next pages shows a girl in a soccer uniform and ten other soccer shirts around her: "1/11 of a soccer team, .09, 9%". Clean, uncluttered pages, nice photos of everyday things, effective results: a good Math aid for your homeschool!

Ask Albert Einstein by Lynne Barasch , 2005 Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 40 pages. ISBN 0374304351

So maybe your elementary school age child will not learn much Math with this book--the one problem shown involves the Pythagorean theorem and it shows the external tangent line touching two circles--but she may learn a few related things: who is Albert Einstein, why he came to America, where he worked and study, ... and how he actually helped some kids with their Math homework!

My husband enjoyed the allusion to Archimedes in Annabelle's bathtub scene... and my favorite pages in the whole book are the inside pages of the front and back covers: Einstein's own quotes each illustrated with adorable drawings of Einstein doing all sort of things. Here are a couple: "When the solution is simple, God is answering" and "Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gifts". A very cute story, based on real events, this book enchanted our 10 year old Math-challenged artistically oriented student.


Eileen Smithdeal said...

Thank you fro these wonderful book reviews. We have been checking them out of the library!

Morningtower said...

I love your blog! I hope you don't mind that I'm tagging you. . . you can find the details on my blog. ( You will also find a widget for your blog on there. . . I really do enjoy your stuff. Thanks!

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Eileen, you are welcome. You can find a few more (older posts) Picture Books of the Week in my blog at