________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 36. . . .May 16, 2014


Shaping Up Summer. (Math in Nature 4).

Lizann Flatt. Illustrated by Ashley Barron.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-92697387-6.

Subject Headings:
Shapes -Juvenile literature.
Geometry in nature-Juvenile literature.
Summer-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Natalie Schembri.

**** /4



Would spiders weave webs to spin silken scenes?
What shapes do you see in the pictures on the spider web? Can you find all the squares?


Lizann Flatt and Ashley Barron bring readers a fourth title in the “Math in Nature” series - Shaping Up Summer. This time, Flatt and Barron introduce readers to geometry and spatial sense through problem-solving scenarios involving creatures active in the natural world of summer.

internal art     Barron’s attention to detail in her intricate paper-cut illustration style, as previously seen in the first three books of the series, vibrantly brings concepts of math and nature to life for readers. The illustrations, in three-dimensional cut-paper collage, continue to work to entice the reader to solve the natural world math problems on the page, problems such as, “How many circles can you see in this scene?” or “Most of these pairs of lines are parallel. Can you find the ones that aren’t?” Shaping Up Summer invites readers to engage with detailed illustration as they are introduced to new math concepts. Flatt’s math problems and Barron’s illustration perfectly unite to provide first and second graders with a fun and interactive way to learn about numbers, patterns, shapes and geometric concepts.

      I especially enjoy the “Nature Notes” glossary of animals and insects that follows the math problems. The animals and insects observed in the math scenarios are reintroduced to the reader with a description of their appearance, behavior, and/or natural habitat. In this book, the “Nature Notes” educates the reader on alligators, skunks, ghost crabs, grasshoppers, bumblebees, and more.

      I would highly recommend Shaping Up Summer, and the three previous titles in the “Math in Nature” series: Counting on Fall, Sorting Through Spring, and Sizing Up Winter, for school and public library collections. All four titles offer primary grade children the opportunity to learn through interactive problems and visually stimulating illustrations. Flatt and Barron have created a thought-provoking, educational, and vibrantly tactile world of math, animals, and nature for children to feast upon.

Highly Recommended.

Natalie Schembri is studying children’s literature at The University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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