This Plus That by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Lynn: I am sad to report that I am horrible at math – so horrible that the thought of anything even vaguely math-related is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!  So the fact that I am writing about a book that has the word “equation” in the title should be a very loud signal as to how much I liked This Plus That:  Life’s Little Equations (Harper 2011).  To be fair, it is probably because the book is really an illustration of what an equation is with clever non-numerical examples.

leaves + hot soup = fall

(snow + carrot) + rosy cheeks = winter

Jen Corace’s cheerful illustrations of round-faced children add to the fun.  This unusual book will make a great addition for school libraries and primary classrooms.  What a great way for children to look at equations in a different way and to connect the concept to their daily life.  Read this to a class and have them create their own examples.

Lynn + coffee = morning

Morning – coffee = grumpy Lynn

twins + morning = noise


Lynn + Cindy = Bookends!

If math featured in language means arduous word problems to you, this will book will reduce your math anxiety. I love this book (creative idea + adorable illustrations = fun!) and the possibilities for classroom use are endless. Fire up the visual presenter if you have one and show these illustrations and equations on your projection screen and then have students make their own as Lynn suggests. I love the ones showing contrast:

chalk + sitting = school

chalk + jumping = hopscotch


blaming + eye rolling ? sincere apology

“I’m sorry” + hug = sincere apology

and after a week back at school, this one will appeal to teachers and students everywhere:

cozy + smell of pancakes – alarm clock = weekend



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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