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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sam Sorts (One Hundred Favorite Things), written and illustrated by Marthe Jocelyn. Tundra, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Spider Rock joins the other rocks. Sam's favorite rock is the round one. He looks for more round things. Two of the buttons are exactly the same. What else comes in twos?
Another way Sam makes a pair is by finding a rhyme. Some things match ... "

One of my favorite books to use when teaching kindergarten was Marthe Jocelyn's wonderful Hannah's Collections (Tundra, 2004) as it helped my kids understand the concept of bringing a group of 100 things to school to share with their friends. Perfect for the 100th day of school!

In this new book, we meet Sam. Sam knows a little bit about making a mess. Like many other children (including my own who loved building forts with every imaginable usable thing), he is not so keen on cleaning up. I mean, it's a big pile. It is, however, his job.

So, he begins. First he sorts by number. There is one robot, two dinosaurs and so on ... Then, he collect up all the animals in the pile. It sets him to wondering about even bigger numbers. How many legs are there? A Venn diagram allows for more sorting, while also finding items that belong in two categories.

We watch him as he sorts, which leads to thinking mathematically in such variety that children are sure to come up with some ideas of their own. That is the real pleasure in sharing this book. It encourages independent thought, and shows each one of us what sorting is all about ... whether by number, color, rhyme, similarities. The fun goes on and on, and we are the delighted readers who get to share it.

"Some things float and some things fly!

Things without wings that fly

Things with wings that fly

Things with wings that don't fly "

The paper collage artwork is as much fun as the text is. It is so skillfully executed that artistic kids will want to try a hand at collecting "stuff'" for their own sorting ideas, and will encourage their friends to help.

Set theory has never been so much fun!

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