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“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
Summary: Numbers can be scary, and according to our young narrator, they can cause nightmares. Frustrated by his math homework and running out of time, a young boy is thrilled when a creature shows up and offers to do his math assignment. He got an A! He was very pleased with himself (and his secret) and handed over the next night's homework as well. Could it really be just this easy? This rhyming story offers an insightful lesson on the value of math and responsibility.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, early reader, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 9; read yourself : 8 to 10
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 2
Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "Oh, mommy. This isn't good," our daughter predicted when the boy signed a contract. At first she loved the idea of having a monster as a homework substitute, but then she quickly caught on that there was danger ahead. When we finished reading, she wanted to go back and explore the images some more.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a very clever, useful book. This is not a story about how to do math; it is a book about why math is important and how it fits in our daily life. Parents and teachers alike will nod their head at the lessons the book offers. The author introduces a number of math terms and themes, including money, counting, adding, and subtracting. The rhyming is clever and very well done, and the illustrations are vivid and expressive. The book has great potential to engage reluctant and remedial readers. There is more text than an easy reader, but the topic is something that all students can relate to. The humor will also grab their interest.
Pros: With clever rhymes and vivid illustrations, kids learn lessons not only about the importance of math, but about cheating and responsibility.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a book every first grade parent and elementary teachers will want to share with their students.
Educational Themes: Kids will relate to this story on several levels, from math anxiety and understanding how math fits into our life to humor and responsibility. Parents can draw out a number of lessons, as well. Although the "homework" aspect and some of the terms (like addends) won't have meaning for pre-readers, they will quickly understand the idea that shortcuts don't always make things better.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.0
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, math, humor, life lessons
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2009
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