Adventures in Math, Reading, PreK-1 Style
Despite my nine years (and counting) of reading children's books every day, I haven't seen very many story-driven picture books that focus specifically on math. Because of this, I was genuinely excited when a new preK-1st grade series, Mouse Math, recently crossed my desk.
Issued by the award-winning Kane Press, the series was launched with four books, each of which deals with one basic math concept: Albert Keeps Score (comparing numbers), The Right Place for Albert (one-to-one correspondence), The Mousier the Merrier! (counting), and Albert's Amazing Snail (position words).
The stars of the books are siblings Albert and Wanda, who go on adventures kiddie style. I think it's great to see math concepts fully supporting, and integral to, stories. Each book includes suggested classroom activities that are designed to help teachers encourage their students to think and talk about math.
The books were written with the math standards in mind, according to publisher, Joanne Kane, who was kind enough to answer some of my questions via email. According to Kane, insight drawn from primary-level teachers and math educators played a significant role in the creation of the series. Teachers and educators reviewed and commented on every stage of the process, including story premises, manuscript drafts, and illustrations; they were also tapped to suggest end-of-book activities.
Each of the books is illustrated by Deborah Melmon. Not only are the illustrations engaging and vibrant, they are—to me—joyful in the same manner as were Stephen Cartwright's illustrations for the UK's Usborne Publishing. (Without Cartwright's signature yellow ducks, of course.)
The two authors associated with the series thus far are Daphne Skinner and Eleanor May.