ARITHME-TICKLE

AN EVEN NUMBER OF ODD RIDDLE-RHYMES

Math story problems aren’t always boring exercises about dividing up a bowl of apples or trains traveling between cities. Sometimes story problems can be rhyming, funny, and delightfully illustrated, as evidenced by this collaboration between Lewis (A World of Wonders, p. 48, etc.) and Remkiewicz, illustrator of the popular Horrible Harry and Froggy series. The 18 math puzzles are full of amusing names and situations, such as calculating the time for a quick trip to Kalamazoo or the weight of a poodle named Poo-poo-pee-doo. Three additional selections include a novel way to multiply by nine as well as a rebus-like round of letters between a dog and a cat (regarding a K-9 T). The text is printed on blue-lined notebook paper with the answers to the puzzles cleverly printed below each problem in reverse (adding a mini-science lesson when the answers are held up to a mirror to be read). Remkiewicz provides cheery illustrations in watercolor and colored pencil, with smiling children and comical animals in double-page spreads that will work well with a group. Most of the puzzles are at the third- or fourth-grade level, but many could be solved by younger children with an adult’s help. This is also an excellent choice for younger gifted children, who will enjoy the challenge of math problems with a humorous twist. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216418-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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