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Making Math Fun for Wee Readers

It’s never too soon to introduce math to your children, and it’s never too early to read them a book, so why not combine the two? Today Debbie Glade reviews two books for early readers with cheerful illustrations and clever prose.

Let’s Count Goats ($16.99, Beach Lane Books by Simon and Schuster, Ages 2-6), written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jan Thomas, introduces the youngest of readers to the world of math. The book features many different goats doing different things and welcomes the reader to count the creatures on the pages. The illustrations are cartoon-like and quite adorable, and the colors are vibrant and inviting. The book works because it is fun and teaches simple math so subtly that the children reading it will not think they are being hit over the head with a math lesson. Parents will enjoy reading this to their children, who are too young to read themselves.

Another book that uses animals to teach math is Double Play: Monkeying Around with Addition ($15.99, Tricycle Press, Ages 4 and up) by Betsy Franco (who has penned more than 80 books) and illustrated by Doug Cushman (who has illustrated more than 100 books). Using simple rhyming verse, this book focuses on recess play-time to introduce simple math equations to the reader. What I like about the book is that children can easily count the number of animals in each picture while looking at the basic math equations on the page. The watercolor illustrations are colorful and appealing and invite the child to relate well to the joys of play-time while learning simple math.

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