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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this funny book helps lighten math anxiety.
Good for parents, but the kids are a bit less enthused
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What's the Story?
The exhilarating and lawless world of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith turns its attention to math anxiety. In short order, they reduce that ancient fear to rubble, allowing readers to see it for the bullying, ridiculous nonsense it is. By extension, the book gives the whole ragged world of dread a salutary thrashing.
Is It Any Good?
This book's authors give kids an opportunity to deepen their appreciation of a topic by putting it in perspective and context.
Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith are high priests in the Church of Nothing Sacred, and they take to their calling with a vengeance. Here it is math anxiety that gets the chop. Their vehicle for its destruction is a riotous obsessive-compulsive response to the "math is everywhere" blather doled out by teachers without any more imagination. The narrator, with a funkster/hipster edginess, is instantly appealing.
The words detonate like explosions -- "On the planet Tetra, kids have only two fingers on each hand. They count 1, 2, 3, 10" -- and Smith's paintings provide an eerie, wired setting that also contains collage pieces and other elements that could have been plucked from a canvas by Vermeer or Miro.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the daylong buffeting of the girl's math curse. Have you ever viewed the world as she does?
- Author: Jon Scieszka
- Illustrator: Lane Smith
- Genre: Humor
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Group
- Publication date: January 1, 1995
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
- Number of pages: 32
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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