Math Picture Books

We’ve gotten back to math picture books in the last week or so.  Last year, we didn’t do a formal math curriculum for kindergarten, so games and picture books were a cornerstone of what we did.  This year, we’ve moved away from using them, but I picked out a few things at the library and pulled some stuff off the shelves and I was reminded of how much fun math picture books can be.  There are many, many math picture books, but here’s a few of our favorites.

Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base
This little tale is part environmental parable, part seek and find book and part math.  The numbers of all the different elements in the story ascend and descend in different ways – counting, doubling, prime numbers, multiplication.  It’s a fascinating little book that can be read again and again for different elements.

One Grain of Rice by Demi
Demi is such a great illustrator.  I like her detailed art with its Asian influences.  The kids like her use of shiny gold.  She’s also a good storyteller.  This book tells an old folktale with a mathematical lesson.  As a reward, the emperor agrees to give a woman a single grain of rice on the first day and double it every day for a month.  Obviously, emperors should be made to study more math.

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumisa Anno
Any of the Anno books could have made my list.  We own two of the Anno’s Math Games books and I also think Anno’s Counting House is an excellent book for learning what combinations of numbers add up to ten.  However, we’ve been enjoying simple numbers this week, looking for patterns and counting things out.

Math-terpieces by Greg Tang
This is one of the kids’ all time favorites.  Each page shows a famous work of art and an element next to it you need to group into certain numbers in different ways.  Such as finding four ways to group Monet’s water lilies so they make eight.  Greg Tang has other math picture books, but this is by far the best, especially for younger kids.  I can’t sing this book’s praises enough.

More, Fewer, Less by Tana Hoban
We use this book much the same way we use Anno’s Counting Book, by looking at patterns and counting out numbers.  The book contains only photographs without text.  The reader is invited to compare sets of things in the photos – such as different colors of shoes or sandals to boots.  I also ask the kids to find certain numbers of things.

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