Monday, March 12, 2012

Picture Books (Math): The Penguin Lady and The Great Divide

Math and reading can go hand–in-hand, even when a book is not directly about math.  Sylvan Dell makes it easy by combining math and science in their books in a natural and appealing manner. Two of the new titles for Spring 2012 are The Great Divide  and The Penguin Lady.  Each focuses on applying different math skills and building science knowledge while advancing literacy.  These titles are interactive and fun-to-read.

Penelope Parker experiences life with penguins—first hand!  As a birthday gift, she receives a penguin from the Galapagos Islands.  Then, her sister sends her two Rockhopper penguins from Argentina.   Next, three  Chinstraps penguins from Antarctic come waddling up to her door.  The narrative continues with a new group of penguins, from four to ten, arriving from another part of the world.   Inside and outside, Penelope has penguins everywhere causing mischief and havoc!   

The illustrations (by Sherry Rogers) are colorful and humorous.  Each two page spread offers an opportunity to count the penguins and discuss their behaviors.   One of the most informative aspects of the book is learning about all the different species of penguins and places they are from—both warm and cold.  Children can find these places on the map, discuss differences in size (another math opportunity), and compare/contrast different species.  A FREE 52-page teaching guide is available which includes extension activities in adding, math games, science, and language-arts.   I recommend The Penguin Lady for ages 2-7.

Written in rhyming quatrains, children are introduced to the concept of division and to the animal group names.   Here is a sample:   

Sixteen shiny river toads,
in a sunny spot,
gather round four puddles.
How many in each knot?

Six rambunctious rhinos
making quite a splash—
three mommas with their babies.
How many in each crash?   

Children interact with the book by solving each riddle and identifying the name associated with each animal group.  For instance, groups of toads are called knots and rhinos are referred to as crashes.  Younger children can count the animals/groups and discuss sound devices (important for early reading skills).  Many of the riddles include alliteration (rambunctious rhinos) and all have end rhymes (splash/crash).  Brainstorm other words with the same beginning sounds or rhymes. 

The illustrations (by Erin H. Hunter) beautifully capture each group of animals in their natural habitats.  Children can talk about where the animals live as well as compare/contrast the different environments.   A FREE 56-page teaching guide is available which includes extension activities in multiplication, division, science, and language-arts.  I recommend The Great Divide for ages 6-10. 

This post is linked up with Math Mondays at love2learn2day and Nonfiction Monday at Rasco with RIF.


  1. You are now live in the compilation I did of each posting. Thank you for participating! I am delighted to know about the penguin book for my grandson in Little Rock, AR where the zoo just obtained their first penguins. He is intrigued!

  2. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never sbobet
    seem to get there! Many thanks.


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