Monday, April 9, 2012

Picture Books (Math): Addition, Perimeter, Area, & Volume

For Math Monday, I have two selections sent to me from Holiday House Publishers.   Each book is an enjoyable and educational way for children to see math in the world around them. 

Help MeLearn Addition (by Jean Marzollo)   
Help Me Learn Addition introduces several addition concepts to young children.  It begins with traditional counting in a snappy, rhyming verse format. 

How many puppets?  Look alive!
We count 1, 2, 3, 4,______ (5).
The number 5 is the last we say.
So that’s the answer:  Hip Hooray!

The verses always have an open ended part (as seen in the blank line) for the child listener to anticipate and to participate.  The end rhyme before it always gives the clue (alive/five), so predicting and rhyming skills are both being practiced. The illustrations are photographs of hands with puppets on the fingers, making the concept familiar and allowing it to be interactive.  

Then, the concept of addition begins with 0 and moves up to adding 1.   Both use duck figurines as visuals.  Other more advanced ideas are revealed like the commutative property of addition (7 + 3 = 10 and 3 + 7 = 10), grouping, skip counting, and using tally marks.  Each math problem is illustrated on an uncluttered, solid background with colorful toys or cute figurines, photographed by Chad Phillips.   A two page spread shows all the ways that 10 can be made using addition facts, also illustrating the commutative property.  Help Me Learn Addition is a wonderful early childhood read for ages 2-5.  Parents and preschool teachers will find this book essential in preparing children for primary math skills. 

Many math concepts are packed into this selection.  Adler begins with a premise familiar to most children—a 3-D movie experience—as well as commonly used words—high, long, tall, and deep. The movie theater experience motif is used throughout the book to offer a real world context as the concepts of perimeter, circumference, radius, dimension, area, and volume are illustrated and explained along with length, width, and depth.  For instance, the movie screen exhibits area and popcorn buckets display volume.  The final page summarizes the main points effectively, fitting each math idea into one of three dimensions. 

Artist Edward Miller’s quirky and exuberant monsters help make this selection entertaining.  They are used both as models and teachers of the math ideas, helping to make math fun and appealing. 

The material is dense which might be a bit overwhelming for younger children, at first.  Repeated exposure and practical applications can easily remedy this issue though.  What I like most about this book is the building of the idea of seeing math concepts in daily life.  A perfect extension is discussing the ideas on field trips, while running errands, or in classroom situations.  Give estimates of sizes.  Figure out the answers.  Discuss which dimension it falls under. 

I recommend Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions for ages 8 and up.  This selection is great as an introduction or reinforcement of math vocabulary and application. 

This post is linked up with Math Monday at Love2Learn2Day.

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of each of the aforementioned books from the Holiday House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.


  1. I just bought Adler's book and am working to figure out an age-appropriate activity to pair with it for my math-loving 1st grader. I LOVE his books! Thanks (as always) for the great reviews!!

  2. Thanks for the thumbs up on Alder's books. I am just becoming familiar with his math-themed ones. I knew him before from his Cam Jensen series. And thanks for the review compliment (I am ducking my head and blushing) :)

  3. We also read some of Adler's math books - Mystery Math (intro to algebra) was a big hit with my 5 year old. This book sounds pretty interesting too!

  4. I know my co-author's students struggle with the difference between area and perimeter. She teaches 5th grade and I am going to introduce The Area, Perimeter, and Volume book to her. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Very impressive blog.It's a good book which can be used by kids for studying mathematics at initial level.It's really a nice book about maths.Our education boards like should use this book for their primary classes.We can include it in Tamilnadu board of secondary education syllabus.