Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Fair Bear Share

by Stuart J. Murphy

Thumbs up.

This cute book is part of a teaching series by Stuart J. Murphy called MathStart. In this book, Murphy tells the story of a Mama bear who wants to make a pie for her four cubs. But she needs their help gathering berries, nuts and seeds.

As the cubs bring in each item they've harvested, Mama bear helps the cubs count their own things. She has them put the items in piles of tens and ones, and then helps them total the harvest. The counting of each "crop" they bring in increases in difficulty until Mama gently guides them through the process of re-grouping, or carrying, of extra groups of ten.

The illustrations by John Speirs are appealing and engaging. He manages to show each seed, and berry, and group of ten, and so on, in such a way as to make the concepts understandable to young children.

My 9 and 11 year olds could easily read it alone, and although they both already understand the math concepts being taught, they still appreciated its visual portrayal. My 6 and 7 year old were very engaged and I could see the continuous "light bulbs" gong on. My 4 year old enjoyed the story pictures, and she and helped to count the harvest.

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