Review of Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi!, by Art Coulson, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

Look, Grandma!
Ni, Elisi!

by Art Coulson
illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

Storytelling Math (Charlesbridge), 2021. 32 pages.
Review written December 29, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review

Here’s another book from the amazingly good Storytelling Math series. All of them present math concepts in a real-life setting that will appeal to children. All of them also present cultural information, not presented as “other” or “exotic” or “different,” but from the perspective of a child within that culture, excited and proud and enjoying things their family does.

In this book, Bo is working on large colorful stone marbles for the Cherokee National Holiday coming up. The marbles are used in the game Cherokee marbles, digadayosdi, and Bo wants to sell them in his family’s booth at the festival.

Bo has a lot of marbles, and he wants to display them at the booth. But when he finds a nice tray to use to display them, Grandma tells him that the tray is too big. Their booth is small and he can display the marbles in the booth, but whatever he uses needs to fit on a small mat she shows him.

So it’s a volume problem. Bo is trying to find a container with a base as small as the mat that will still display the marbles well. And not so tall that it’s hard to reach inside.

After Bo finds the perfect container (which takes lots of tries), they show him happily displaying them in his family’s booth — and then playing Cherokee marbles together to get a break.

The book weaves in some Cherokee words, and there’s a glossary at the back along with the feature at the back of every Storytelling Math book called “Exploring the Math.” In this book, that section gives ideas of activities to help kids explore volume and area. I love the way these stories are jumping-off places for more learning.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but 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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