Review of Bedtime Math, by Laura Overdeck, illustrated by Jim Paillot

Bedtime Math
by Laura Overdeck

A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late

illustrated by Jim Paillot

Feiwel and Friends, New York, 2013. 86 pages.
Starred Review
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #6 Children’s Nonfiction

I already talked about Bedtime Math on my blog, when it only referred to a website. Then I used the book in my Every Child Ready to Read program, “Fun with Math for Parents and Preschoolers.”

I am tremendously excited about Bedtime Math, because I discovered how wonderful it is years ago, when my second son was about five years old. I’m not sure how it started, but he began asking for math problems at bedtime. (It might have been when I told him that when he turned six, his age plus his age would equal his brother’s age, and his age *times* his age would equal my age. His next question was, “What’s times?” One week later, his brother asked him “What’s 16 times 4?” and he figured out the answer in his head!)

Anyway, this started a stretch where I’d make up math problems for him at bedtime, after reading three books, when he was tucked in and cozy in bed. He learned the magic words I was NOT able to resist that would extend bedtime on and on: “Just one more math problem, Mommy, please!”

The problems in Bedtime Math are much better and more fun than the simply numerical problems I made up for my son. Each two-page spread has a fun scenario, followed by related math problems, one for “wee ones” (involving counting), one for “Little kids,” and one for “Big kids.” You can also get problems from their website or app.

The categories used are “Exploding Food,” “Wild Pets,” “Extreme Vehicles,” “Sports You Shouldn’t Try at Home,” and “Really Odd Jobs.”
For example, after telling us about squirt bottles for ketchup (“Squirting ketchup is also more fun than throwing a tomato: While a tomato smacking into something might explode and make a mess, ketchup already is a mess.”), here are the problems listed:

Wee ones: If you squirt 3 squirts of ketchup on a hot dog, and then 1 more squirt on your friend’s head, how many squirts did you fire off?

Little kids: If you line up some burgers and squirt ketchup on the 1st burger, then every 3rd burger after that, which burger in the lineup is the 4th burger to get squirted?

Big kids: If you squirt 2 cups of ketchup, and each cup used 14 tomatoes, how many tomatoes’ worth of ketchup did you just squirt?

I am excited about Bedtime Math! May the Math Madness spread! Laura Overdeck says in the Introduction:

Bedtime Math’s goal is simple: to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives, not just something found only in homework assignments. Math should be as beloved as the bedtime story….We never hear people say “Ewww, a book at bedtime?!” Likewise, there’s absolutely no reason to say that about math. Numbers are beautiful, and kids love attention. Bedtime Math just puts the two together. With that, let the games begin.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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