1/1/05 Science Books & Films
All eight books in this series have the same format: excellent colored photographs surrounded by simple sentences on the same or next page. The children and adults pictured in the various books are ethnically diverse. Each book has sections entitled "About the Author" and "Photo Credits," as well as an Index. The final two pages of photos in each book are titled "Words You Know" and show some of the words from the index, together with photos that demonstrate the words presented. These books are designed to be read to a small child or by a young child who is just beginning to read. There appear to be no errors in any of the books, but because six different authors wrote the eight books, the content is not of the same the quality from book to book. All About Money, by Erin Roberson, has pictures showing only the sides of coins containing faces, and from the pictures, the dime and quarter appear to be the same size. The interrelationship between the various coins is discussed in the text, but is not shown by (simple) equations, which, if it was, might help young children. Can You Guess, by Brian Sargent, is a good concept, but somewhere it should be emphasized that guessing is to be used only when there are too many objects to count. All too often, on multiple-choice math tests, students will guess which answer is correct rather than perform the calculation. The Shapes We Eat, by Simone T. Ribke, could confuse a child because the pentagon and octagon that are pictured do not have equal sides and are thus irregular. Apple Fractions, by Donna Townsend, is good because of repetition and the clever use of a dog in the final picture. A Garden Full of Sizes, by Simone T. Ribke, would be especially useful for children who help adults in a garden. How Long Is It?, by Donna Loughran, encourages children to explore their environment and measure objects. Of all the authors, Jill Fuller, did an exceptionally good job in Springtime Addition and Toy Box Subtraction, using both numerical and word equations.
The following reviews of the individual books in the series reflect the difference in quality of those books:
In Toy Box Subtraction, toys are taken out, or subtracted from, the toy box in groups of one or two. The numbers of each toy in the group are shown, as is the result obtained when they are subtracted. This approach is an effective method for introducing the concept of subtraction to a small child. The author is listed as a teacher who likes math and who also wrote Springtime Addition, a good companion book.
All About Money introduces a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter and both coin and paper dollars. Except for the picture showing all the coins, only the sides of the coins containing faces are shown. From their pictures, the dime and quarter appear to be the same size. The interrelationship between the various coins is discussed in the text, but not brought out by simple equations. The current and former purchasing power of the different coins is shown. Because of the problems mentioned here, this book might not be as useful as the other books in the series.
In Springtime Addition, butterflies, flowers, ducks, and kites are shown alone or in groups of two through five. In most cases, the numbers of each object in the group are shown on the left page. On the right page is the number obtained when the numbers of objects are added together. This approach is an effective method for introducing the concept of addition to a small child. The author is listed as a teacher who likes math and who also wrote Toy Box Subtraction, a good companion book.
In Can You Guess?, pictures which show a few animals that can be counted are followed by pictures of objects that are too many to count. Thus, the concept of intelligent guessing is introduced. The pictures of too many objects to count are divided in half or in four parts. The number of objects in one part is added to itself or to three times itself, depending on the number of initial parts into which the picture was divided. The person reading the book with a child should emphasize that guessing is used only when there are too many objects to count. Sadly, all too often, on multiple-choice tests, students will guess which answer is correct rather than perform the calculation.
In The Shapes We Eat,