When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…
by Molly Bang
The Blue Sky Press, 2018
A thinker of a story and a great introduction to math.
On a rainy day, Sophie is stuck inside trying to build a puzzle pieces into a square. When her sister walks by and quickly makes a square, Sophie concludes she is not smart. Fortunately, her teacher introduces the concept that “we become smart”, when most the kids believes you have to be born smart. She gives them a math puzzle using squares and rectangles. After the kids struggle with the puzzle, the teacher introduces the most important word, “Yet” and tells them, “You haven’t figured it out … YET.”
That one word changes everything for Sophie.
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This is NOT a Cat!
by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Sterling Children’s Books, 2016
As a mouse teacher instructs her mice student on what a cat looks like, a cat enters the classroom. Frightened, teacher and students all scream “A Cat!” and run. As they leave the building, the reader sees the ‘cat’ is only a costume. Inside the costume is a rat. Smugly the rat leaves the building to come face to face with a real cat! Using minimal words and color-filled pages of action, readers can enjoy the humor of all the twists and turns in the story.
If you like humor, you may enjoy other books by David LaRochelle. Check out 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions, a silly book on addition. If you have a budding actor, introduce them to Moo! Using only one word throughout the story, the story is told through voice inflections. Toddlers love this story when they quickly learn to read ‘moo’ and practice their expressive verbal skills. This book sometimes finds its way in junior and high school drama classes, too!
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Tracks Count/ A guide to Counting Animal Prints
by Steve Engel, illustrated by Alexander Petersen
Craigmore Creations, 2014
While it’s sold as a counting book—which it is—Tracks Count is so much more. Each number, beginning with zero, includes a few educational words about a different animal, 1-4 short sentences early readers can practice reading on their own, and a richly rendered illustration of the animals belonging to the foot prints. My favorite is the five baby raccoons peering out from a tree hollow—irresistible. It would be easy for a young reader to want to read/hear the story several times to spend time with the young animals.
While the book includes animals one would expect, like bears and wolves, it also introduces readers to lesser known animals like the tapir and coatimundi. The book includes an introduction, for the adults; a two-page spread showing the numbers 1-10 with their foot prints—for the kids; and a short description of each of the animals featured. The book can easily be used as a reference book.
A perfect book for early counters, children will have fun counting all the toes, claws and hooves of the animals—there’s a lot of counting going on in this book!
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