New Books

A recent trip to the library yielded new books. Forgoing a Seuss selection this time, I just followed stream of recommendation on Amazon and Goodreads.

How Many Jelly Beans is a simple, clear demonstration of magnitude. The off page voice asks two children how many jelly beans they want. As they raise the number from 10 to a million, the numbers are represented by jelly bean shaped dots on the page. The last page, a million, is a fold out with quite a few panels. Coming from the library, it was ready to part ways with the rest of the book, so I did something I never do. I used my archival book tape to repair and reinforce the parts that were torn. I like this book for the foundation in number sense and representation of large numbers. The kids’ dog also makes it amusing.

More continues the trend of thinking of quantity. My daughter had already seen the book at school, so she gravitated to it. I love the sparse language: more, too much, less, etc. Also, the drawings are captivating and fun for my son to discover everyday items the magpie and its friends the mice help collect and then take away.

House Held Up By Trees is a lovely story of a house in which a father lives with his two children. The father’s obsession for a perfect yard far outstrips my dad’s or my own, but the message is there to make me think about that. In the end, they all move away, and in the absence of people, the trees held a bay for so long take over, and in the end raise the house into their branches off the ground.

The last book, You Are Stardust, is a nice, lyrical introduction to many ideas including all matter comes from exploding stars and the water in our bodies has existed on this planet for a long time and is recirculated. The illustrations are beautiful. However, the concepts are probably just out of reach of my 5 year-old.

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