Monday, March 16, 2009

Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems

Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Karen Barbour; Aladdin Paperbacks, New York, 2001.

Marvelous Math, a recipient of the Parent's Choice Award and a selected Reading Rainbow Book, is a compilation of a number of amusing poems from various authors about math. These poems allow students to see how math can be found both in our daily lives and even in nature, as in Nature Knows Its Math by Joan Bransfield Graham:
"Divide
the year
into seasons,
four,
subtract
the snow then
add
some more
green..."
What students might find interesting about math is how it can be comforting as in Betsy Franco's poem Math Makes Me Feel Safe" when the speaker explains:
"Math makes me feel safe
knowing that my brother will always be
three years younger than I am,
and every day of the year will have
twenty-four hours."
Many elements of math are presented in this collection including calculators, fractions, time, and one entry that suggests the reader try to imagine life without numbers, reinforcing the idea that numbers and math are a vital part of our world.
Marvelous Math is visually appealing to children as illustrator Karen Barbour uses bright, bold colors with details standing out in black. Each page is covered with images that match the poem allowing children to make connections between the math concepts and the picture.
Marvelous Math would be a positive "addition" to a classroom library, one which could easily be utilized by a teacher for introducing a new math concept showing students that poetry and literature can cross over to many areas of learning.

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