Review of Balancing Act, by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Balancing Act

by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), New York, 2010. 32 pages.

Ellen Stoll Walsh is brilliant at explaining basic concepts to the very youngest readers. Her earlier book Mouse Paint is justifiably called “a modern classic,” demonstrating mice mixing colors in a simple, easily understandable way.

Balancing Act shows how balancing works in a way that even toddlers will be able to absorb. First, two mice balance on opposite ends of a stick. Then a lizard joins them, throwing off the balance — but when the lizard’s friend comes, balance is restored. Then comes a frog, and a friend.

When a big, heavy bird comes, it looks like their game is done — until all the other creatures get on the other side. That works great — until the stick breaks.

There are only a few words on each page, used in a way to captivate readers (“Uh-oh! A frog.”), so this book will work with the very youngest children, just beginning to understand that books tell a story.

Balance is a Math concept and a Science concept, but learning this concept is disguised in a lovely story with fun use of language that preschoolers will simply enjoy. A definite win!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/balancing_act.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

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

Review of Quack and Count, by Keith Baker

Quack and Count

by Keith Baker

Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999. 28 pages.

Here’s a simple picture book that’s fun and easy to read, and lays a nice foundation for counting and addition.

The story is simple. Lovely cut-paper artwork shows us seven ducklings. There are two rhyming lines on each set of pages, but the innovative part is that on each set of pages, we have different groupings.

On the page after we are initially introduced to the seven ducklings, it says,

“Slipping, sliding, having fun
7 ducklings, 6 plus 1.”

Six ducklings are grouped on the left-hand page, and one duckling has already slid down onto the right-hand page.

The next page is:

“7 ducklings, 5 plus 2
Playing games of peekaboo.”

Now you have five ducklings on the left and two on the right, all hiding in the long grass.

And so it continues.

This book is a beautiful way to give the idea of addition in a fun way, without overt teaching. They will see, without you even having to point it out, that 3 + 4 and 4 + 3 both equal seven. On each page, you can count the left, count the right, and count them all together, and your child will enjoy the experience even before he knows how to count himself.

This book gives an example of a beautiful and fun way to build a number sense into your little one. The short text means it would work well with very young children, and as they get older, you can let them count the ducklings themselves. The lovely artwork adds a level of enjoyment.

As a former math teacher, and a Mom who looked for excuses to teach my kids about numbers, and who has successfully reared two book-lovers and math-lovers, I simply had to highlight this delightful little book.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/quack_and_count.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

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