Numbers, Counting, Measuring and More: Books About Math

Are you math a math whiz or do you rely on a math monster? How many hot dogs can you and your family consume at one time? Ever played with math before bedtime? Has a friend ever gotten things way out of order? Each of these is possible — even probable — if you take a look at these books!

Bedtime Math

By: Laura Overdeck
Illustrated by: Jim Paillot
Age Level: 0-3

Math is not only all around but everyday goings-on make thinking mathematically fun. Activities of varying difficulty (wee ones, little kids, big kids) use the familiar — from dogs to ketchup — to present intriguing math questions to solve, all humorously illustrated. Answers are discreetly placed on each page with additional information for adults at the end.

Help Me Learn Subtraction

By: Jean Marzollo
Age Level: 3-6

Simple rhymes combine with crisp, uncluttered photographs to ask (and answer visually as well as with numerals) simple questions that are answered with subtraction. Number sentences (e.g., 8 - 2=6) are also included for each as are clever asides or additional information on each double page spread.

Millions, Billions and Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers

Illustrated by: Edward Miller
Age Level: 3-6

A billion is a big number, bigger than a million. "It's written like this: 1,000,000,000 — one followed by nine zeroes." There aren't even that many hairs on your head! Colorful illustrations and child-friendly comparisons bring these huge numbers into clearer focus in both words and numerals enhanced by bright, cheery illustrations.

Musk Ox Counts

By: Erin Cabatingan
Illustrated by: Matthew Myers
Age Level: 3-6

Zebra wants to create a traditional counting book but his buddy, Musk Ox, is not cooperating at all! Instead, Musk Ox adds and subtracts animals, much to Zebra's chagrin but sure to delight readers while challenging their counting and visual acuity! This is a worthy and equally funny companion to A is for Musk Ox (Roaring Brook, 2012).

Perimeter, Area and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions

Illustrated by: Edward Miller
Age Level: 3-6

A group of movie-making monsters introduce the concepts needed to make a 3-dimensional film: width, height, depth. Related ideas and vocabulary follow (e.g., circumference, area, etc.) also presented with the same light touch. Flat, silly-but-colorful monsters lead the exploration to its conclusion.

Teddy Bear Patterns

By: Barbara McGrath
Illustrated by: Tim Nihoff
Age Level: 3-6

Colorful toy teddy bears appear on open pages with an engaging, rhyming narrative. Children will be able to see the patterns and learn to "skip count" (e.g., counting by 2s) while being introduced to basic arithmetic (addition and its relationship to multiplication). One of a series of basic math books.

That's a Possibility: A Book About What Might Happen

By: Bruce Goldstone
Age Level: 6-9

Intriguing questions introduce the notion of possibility and its opposite which leads to the introduction of mathematical probability. Activities and games to test the chances of something happening involve coins, cards and more to bring the concepts into clear, recognizable and highly appealing focus.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

By: Deborah Heiligman
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Age Level: 6-9

Paul Erdos grew up in Hungary and was always an unusual child. He enjoyed numbers, was inept at everyday activities (like tying his shoes), and hated rules but grew up to be a famous mathematician. Witty illustrations and a fluid narrative (which imbeds mathematical language), and fascinating author and illustrator notes introduce this mathematically gifted man.

The Monster Who Did My Math

By: Dannie Schnitzlein
Illustrated by: Bill Mayer
Age Level: 6-9

A boy recalls when he was "frightened by numbers" with an "allergic reaction/to multiplication … addition … subtraction." The narrator ultimately diminishes his fear and the creepy clown-like monster when he realizes how important and fun math can be. Richly hued illustrations for this cautionary tale are oversized, sitting atop the rhyming text.

The Wing Wing Brothers: Carnival de Math

By: Ethan Long
Age Level: 6-9

Math is all around when the Bird brothers, Woody, Willy, Wilmer, Wendell and Walter compete at games, eat hot dogs and ride the Ferris wheel at a carnival. Comic illustrations combine with words and numerals to highlight the brothers' alliterative tale while illuminating basic math concepts.

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Gene Luen Yang
August 12, 2016