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Who remembers Winnie Cooper from the show ‘The Wonder Years’? The actress, known as Danica McKellar, is now (among other roles) an acclaimed mathematics author. She received her bachelors degree in mathematics at UCLA and is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advocate.
In an interview with USA Today, Ms. McKellar stated that, “I was a total STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kid from the time I was born. I can’t ever remember a time that I didn’t want to not only learn, but be challenged. I think that’s why I love math; it challenges my brain.”
In many of her books it seems that she specifically targets young girls as her audience. In interviews I’ve read, she said she didn’t feel she ‘looked the part’ of a typical math student and wants to change that perception for the future generations.
We personally own three of her math picture books in our home – all I will review below. Again, I’ll suggest either to BUY IT, BORROW IT or SKIP IT.
GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS – BUY IT!
This book is a New York Times Best Seller and it is probably my favorite of the three that we have. Most of the reading in our house happens at bedtime, so this book naturally fits in with the bedtime theme. This book is intended for toddlers and preschoolers.
The rhymes in this book are appealing and unique. The story follows a toddler and adult through various areas of the home counting and getting ready for bed. There a multiple examples in the illustrations on each page of the represented number and the lessons are also relatable to everyday situations like, there are 7 days in a whole week.
At the end of the book, there is a letter from the author to parents. She provides other great ideas and examples of easy ways to introduce counting and numbers to young children and suggestions on how to read the book to your child. We read this book so often, that I would recommend buying it for your preschooler or soon to be preschooler. You won’t be disappointed.
TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES – BUY IT!
If you have a child that loves fairies and enchanted stories, this picture book is perfect. First off, the illustrations in this book are beautiful. Again, McKellar sneaks in counting, addition and subtraction in an innovative and fun way to keep your child’s attention with rhymes and images. This is also a great bedtime book, as it ends with ‘sleep tight’!
This book is a wonderful introduction to math because it starts with low numbers (only up to ten). My daughter learned all the various combinations of numbers that add up to 10 and she’s pretty good for her age at completing simple math problems. She also views math as fun! I credit books like this for that! This book is a definite buy in my opinion, especially for young girls.
BATHTIME MATHTIME – BUY IT OR BORROW IT!
I struggled with my suggestion to buy or borrow this book. While I like the innovative spirit of this book, I personally enjoyed the first two stories above more than this one. BUT, if you have a child with a short attention span, I do think that this book would be better choice than the first two above. It is a very short book.
This book is based on a young boy in the bath tub and all the ways in which the family counts during his bath time ritual. It’s illustrations include actual math calculations which help your child get familiar with them. My suggestion would be to borrow this book first, then make a decision on if it is worth the purchase for your child.
Have you read or own any of these books? What are you thoughts and opinions of these stories?
Did you know that Danica McKellar was a math author? What other Danica McKellar math books do you own? Would you recommend them?
Do you have any other books you’d like me to review? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Check out my other STEM book reviews here!