Numbering the Days: Counting on Fall by Lizann Flatt
WHAT IF NATURE KNEW NUMBERS LIKE YOU?
LET'S LOOK AT THE FALL.
CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT COUNTING COULD DO?
Who'd count the leaves
falling from trees,
stirred and disturbed,
by the passing breeze?
The turning of the season tells us it's time to turn to those autumn concept books that teach temperate-zone kids what the turning of time means in nature. They can count on change in the air and in the earth around them, in Lizann Flatt's forthcoming Counting on Fall (Math in Nature) (Owlkids Books, 2012).
If honk-honking geese
kept to groups of ten apiece,
what a sight that would make
At the lake!
[Can you see several ways to make up ten?
Can you think of other ways to make ten?]
Flatt's loose, easy-rhyming text encourages kids to count, not just from one to ten, but by sets of twos or fives or tens, both ways, up and down.
With toes like those
do you suppose
raccoons can count on trouble?
[Can you count the toes by fives?]
Ashley Barron's stylized torn-paper collages in subtle autumnal shades work well, for the most part, imparting a comfortable mellow mood to the scenes of fall plants and animals as black bears gobble up berries and squirrels tote up their acorns by fives, although a few darkish illustrations require some close-up scrutiny. A two-page spread of ready-for-hibernation brown bats features both hanging bats wide awake and some soundly asleep to tote up. Other double spreads offer glowingly charming composition, such as appealing pikas gathering flowers for their burrow storehouses, or a stand-out spread of Canada geese which deftly makes use of perspective to teach the tens concept.
Flatt's text offers math concepts that span the primary grades, from simple preschool counting to estimation and multiple sets of twos and fives and tens, making this book a worthy addition to the number of counting and seasonal books among the primary bookshelves. Text boxes within each double-page spread extend the activity with higher level and open-ended questions. and an appended "Nature Notes" provides more detailed data on plants and animals in the order shown in the book for the detail-minded student or science teacher.
"Barron’s cut-paper collages have the crispness of an autumn afternoon, and Flatt smoothly touches on estimation, counting by fives and tens, counting backwards, and other mathematical concepts while maintaining a gentle, whimsical tone," observes Publishers Weekly in timely fashion.