Monday, March 26, 2012

Picture Book (Math): Seeing Symmetry (Loreen Leedy)

The idea of symmetry had not really consciously crossed my mind until one day I observed a student teacher I was supervising present a lesson on it.  He did an amazing job showing a multitude of real world examples.  Then, he had a PowerPoint presentation in which the students had to determine which objects were symmetrical and which were not.  The lesson was a big success both in student engagement and learning
When I saw Loreen Leedy’s new book Seeing Symmetry, I knew I had to review it.   I have rarely seen a trade book on the topic, and this one looked wonderful.   

I love how she begins with a sort of riddle:  

Butterfly wings have it.
Triceratops had it.
The word Mom has it. 

Each subject is illustrated on the page to prompt student guessing what the three items have in common.  Next, the two-paged title page is a fantastic example of symmetry, perfect for keeping the conversation going.  The early pages describe with words and illustrate with pictures the concept of symmetry in simple terms.  After the concept is clearly laid out, Leedy offers a multitude of colorful examples from holidays, buildings, furniture, animals, machines, and other everyday items children will be familiar with. 

For parents and teachers, additional notes are offered in the back to help with instruction, whether formal or informal.  There are two fun activities suggested for practicing the math concept and an explanation on how symmetry is an important math concept.  The book is rounded out with a list of symmetry words and their definitions to help build subject vocabulary.  The book has everything necessary to teach this concept. 

I enjoyed reading and experiencing Seeing Symmetry.  It is much like the superb lesson my student teacher gave—engaging, relevant, and enriching.  I highly recommend this title for school or home.  Children will enjoy the book so much they won’t even realize they are learning an essential math concept! 

I also have Pinterest board on Math Symmetry Teaching Ideas.  I will add more as I come across ideas on the web. 

This post is linked up with Math Monday at love2learn2day.   

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from 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 squealed with excitement when I saw the thumbnail of this book on my blogroll (I added your site)! I just ordered this online yesterday! Thanks so much for affirming my purchase was a good one. Now I REALLY can't wait to share this with my son!

  2. I am so glad I could "affirm" your purchase :) It is definitely a unique book and a great one for the home library. Thanks for adding me to your blog. I need to update my list. I have a bunch of sites saved in Word. Now to get around organizing and adding it. :)

  3. We love Loreen Leedy books, but I haven't seen this one. It must be new. I'll be looking for it - thanks for this review.

  4. Thank you so much for this wonderful review! I never thought about symmetry either until a few years ago... then it suddenly became obvious that MATH + ART = SYMMETRY and I needed to make a book about it. There have been very few picture books about symmetry, which seems odd since it's so visual. Not that I'm complaining about having the topic to myself (for the moment, anyway!)

  5. @Loreen I am glad you like the review. I agree that there are few books on the topic. Yours is the best on the subject I have seen. Hoping lots of people get a copy!


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