Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

The Monster Who Did My Math by Danny Schnitzlein, 30 pages.
Danny Schnitzlein’s new picture book, The Monster Who Did My Math, is a modernized version of the traditional tale Rumpelstiltskin.
Certain that he can’t master his math homework, a young boy frets about it all weekend. When he finally tackles it late Sunday evening, he feels overwhelmed.  Suddenly a math monster appears and offers to do the homework. The boy is only too happy to accept and he signs the contract presented to him.
The next morning, and the morning after that, he astounds his teacher (and himself) with perfect homework. 
However when the student is asked to work out some math equations at the blackboard for the class, he can’t solve them, having learned nothing from the homework that he didn’t do.  He “fires” the monster that evening and is immediately presented with a large bill. The boy raids his piggy-bank, totals up his coins and finds that it isn’t enough. He looks in his sweater drawer, finds more coins, adds them up and realizes that he needs still more. Pockets, a shoebox, his sock drawer and the clothes hamper yield more money and after adding it in, the boy is finally able to pay his bill. The monster leaves, angrily insisting that the boy will need his help again.
After all his calculations to pay the bill, however, the boy realizes that he is now capable of doing his own math homework, and the next evening, he confidently finishes it on his own.
This clever, upbeat tale, told in rhyme, will resonate especially with children who lack confidence in their own math abilities.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years. 

Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton, 32 pages.
When Splat the Cat’s teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, announced that the class was taking a trip to the zoo, Splat was so excited that he could hardly sleep the night before. 
Each student in the class had a different zoo animal that they were most excited about seeing. For some, it was the giraffes; for others it was the elephants or the monkeys. Splat was most interested in seeing the penguins - he loved the black and white birds with their big eyes and awkward waddle.
Seymour, Splat’s pet mouse, was very disappointed that he couldn’t go to the zoo too – but as everyone knows, elephants are afraid of tiny mice. 
Seymour decided to cook up a plan to attend anyway …
At the zoo, the class happily visited the giraffes, elephants, monkeys and other animals but at the end of the afternoon, the students learned that they couldn’t see the penguins. Why?  A sign explained: “Due to an elephant breaking the pool the penguins cannot come out today. Sorry!”
Splat was devastated.  What had happened … and how could he see the penguins after all?
Fortunately, Seymour (who had caused the problem for the penguins in the first place with his “clever” plan) had another plan, one which would make things right again for Splat and the penguins. 
Splat and the Cool School Trip is the latest hilarious Splat adventure by author-artist Rob Scotton.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years. 

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on September 12, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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