Perfect Picture Book Friday – this plus that

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Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace

Published by Harper Collins, 2011

Ages: 3+

Hardcover: 32 Pages – readily available

Themes: Equations, expected and unexpected combinations, concept picture book.

First Lines/synopsis:

“1+1 = Us”

“Yes+No = maybe”

This is a collection of life’s equations showing children that the overall experience in life is always so much bigger and more influential than just the sum of its parts. It begins with two little girls looking at life through equations, first with simple additions such as the opening equations above, to more complex math/scenarios such as:

“cozy + pancakes – alarm clock  = weekend” 

or “(every star in the sky + the sun + the moon) x my heart = love you to the infinite power”

This latter equation can clearly be understood at different levels, which is why I think this picture book has quite a wide appeal.

Why I like this Book: 

I am going to quote the Kirkus review for this one:

“Clever premise + artful execution = sure winner.” –Kirkus, starred review”

As in so many of Amy’s books, this plus that has such a unique premise. You never feel like you have read this before somewhere! This is a book full of meaning and playfulness educating with humour and cleverness. This plus that imparts life ‘lessons’ and math concepts in a way even a young child can grasp, while older children might dig deeper for more philosophical thoguhts. The artwork is sparse, clean and bold digital children with rosy cheeks on white backgrounds, and fleshes out the verbal math beautifully.


Booklist says – Teachers could use the book, perhaps paired with Betsy Franco’s picture book Mathematickles! to introduce math equations or to inspire students to create their own verbal equations. But first, just read this unusual book aloud and let it work its magic.

I think with an older group, I would be tempted to read the first few pages as examples, and maybe have them guessing at the outcome on some of the later pages. Younger children could answer some verbal equations while older ones could make up their own entirely.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

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28 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – this plus that

  1. Why is it that every book Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes makes me smack my forehead and think, “Why didn’t I write that?” So simple in concept and yet so sophisticated in execution.

  2. Darshana says:

    Great review. I read this book a while back. Clever indeed.

  3. Amy is just plain awesome in every possible way. Who else could come up with such an idea, and execute it so perfectly? Great ideas for activities — I like the thought of seeing if kids can figure out the “answers” to the equations. Thanks, Joanna!

  4. That is such a clever concept. How adorable!

  5. Yep! Very very clever and Yep, very very Amy! Love it and I loved your activity ideas Joanna!

  6. Read this a few mths ago (?) and also especially liked the weekend equation – great pick!

  7. Oh, why-oh-why didn’t I discover this when I was teaching pre-algebra? This could have made math FUN for the kids. So glad for the info…perhaps in another few years my grandkids will need it.

  8. Rhythm says:

    What a clever, unique book! I will be looking for this one! Thanks for sharing! I’m going out to find my own equations!

  9. Laura Renauld says:

    Funny, I was looking at “math” picture books today. I’ll have to add this one to my list!

  10. I agree with everyone. Amy is just amazing. I can’t wait to read this one.

  11. This sounds wonderful, Joanna! I am a big AKR fan, but I haven’t read this one. I love the whole concept. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention and adding it to our list! 🙂

  12. Tina Cho says:

    This sounds so fun! Especially to make math more fun! I’ll have to look for it. Thanks, Joanna!

  13. clarbojahn says:

    Like the other commenters I want to read this one. It sounds like such a treat! 🙂 And to think it has math as the foundation to love. Thanks for sharing this one. 🙂

  14. Joanna says:

    It’s a great combo of math and language and relationships, Clar!

  15. Knew this book was coming out and am glad to read a review. Amy is so creative and I like her concept books. Sounds like a winner for young children.

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