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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Double Play, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Doug Cushman. Tricycle Press, Random House. 2011. $17.99 ages 2 and up

the bell for recess time!
The kids can
and climb."

Jill and Jake are two little monkeys who, along with their other animal classmates, have been working on math problems and would rather be outside for recess. They don't know that math surrounds us, and is part of many of the things that we do!

In fact, as they head outside they are part of one of the earliest math equations - 1 + 1 = 2. You know that one, right? They are unsure about their recess plans; it isn't long, however, until they find themselves hanging upside down on the bars:

"With just their knees,
they grip the bars.
They're upside-downside
circus stars.

2 knees + 2 knees + 4 knees"

There is much to do, and lots to learn about numbers as they pass from one activity to the next. The jump rope, play four square, have a treat, rope climb, blow bubbles, draw on a mural, and play ball. They even climb on the monkey bars. No matter where their talents lie, or what they are doing, math plays a role in their recess enjoyment.

When it's time to go back inside, they go in as they came out to play....1 friend + 1 friend = 2 friends!

While Betsy Franco has a great time creating the rhythmic, musical  language for her new concept book, Doug Cushman has a ball with the watercolor images he creates to accompany this number romp. The faces are expressive, the details brightly colored and full of playtime fun. I like that he groups the numbers on facing pages, giving kids a sense that we do that when we are adding similar numbers...and that often makes it easier for seeing patterns in mathematical concepts. He even does some grouping within the groups and kids with math minds will see that right away. The chaos on the ball field is great fun and well, monkeys on the monkey bars is just too cute!

"They climb, they cling.
They swing and glide
until they reach
the other side.

10 bars + 10 bars  + 20 bars"

Useful for teachers and parents and engaging for the target audience. It's a great book to get young ones counting, and grouping and seeing math as an integral part of much of what we do daily!

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