Tag Archives: picture books

Number Sense: Children’s Literature about Math

shapesI recently enrolled in a teacher education program. As a result, I have been learning about teaching math to young children. While I emphasized reading with my own kids, I always felt that math was a lesser priority. This is a mistake too many Americans make. Just as reading readiness is important for 4-year-olds, so is acquiring number sense, or an understanding of numbers and the ability to use them.

Here are four common preschool and kindergarten math topics, along with some great picture books that support them in a fun and stimulating manner. I am not including counting books in this post, but are many wonderful ones available that are more appropriate for younger children.

Addition and Subtraction
We have guinea pigs, and they are great pets. But, strangely, my daughter and I frequently have the same multiplying guinea pig nightmare. Maybe other people have this same dream, because I found several books about math featuring these furry creatures.

Guinea Pigs Add Up

One Guinea Pig Is Not Enough

Twenty is Too Many

Exponential growth is a difficult concept. No one describes it better than Demi in this brilliant and gorgeous book, One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale. In it, a clever young woman asks a selfish ruler for a single grain of rice, which will be doubled every day for a month. In the end, the raja learns a lesson about generosity and math.

For more multiplying fun, Two of Everything  is about a pot that doubles everything that goes into it.


I recently learned that geometry is an under-taught and under-valued subject in many schools. It’s a shame because kids love shapes, and there are many excellent books and activities focusing on them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Shape – This book by David Goodman and Zoe Miller is colorful and interactive. Younger kids will enjoy the many bright and engaging images; older children will enjoy learning about concepts such as tangrams and symmetry.

So Many Circles, So Many Squares
by Tana Hoban lets kids find shapes in everyday scenes. Hoban also published several other shape based photography books, including:

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
        Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres

Extension Tip: After you read about geometry, have children combine shapes to fill the bottom of a box. This exercise builds spatial ability and geometric awareness.






Children are intrigued by money. Many of them have piggy banks and experience paying for small items. While some experts argue that money recognition is not mathematics, coin counting supports awareness of one-to-one correspondence and place value.

Here are four books that will have your child counting up coins in no time. The Coin Counting Book is a straight informational book, while the other three are stories that feature child-friendly economic transactions.

The Coin Counting Book

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money (Fun with Math & Money)

Bunny Money (Max and Ruby)

The Penny Pot

Extension Tip: For easier coin counting, create a ten-frame out of an egg carton. Fill each of the cups of egg carton with one penny each. Count out 10 cents a total of 10 times to make a dollar. Later, fill each of the cups of egg carton with 1 dime each.  Counting by ones, count out ten dimes or $1. If your child is still interested, fill each of the cups of egg carton with 2 nickels each.  Counting by twos, count out twenty nickels or $1.


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children's books, reviews

8 Great Beach and Ocean Books for Children

Every year my family heads out to the Jersey Shore for a week of sun and fun. I always bring a stack of picture books with me, but this year I decided to bring stories that reflected what we were experiencing on our vacation. Here are some of our favorite picture books about the beach and ocean, not counting the pirate books, which I reviewed earlier this summer.

David Wiesner is the master of the wordless picture book, and while Tuesday is arguably more famous, my favorite of his books is Flotsam. Flotsam is the name for debris that washes ashore, and in this case, it refers to an old-fashioned camera that is found by a boy on the beach. The magic begins when the boy develops the roll of film inside the camera. The photographs reveal an astonishing underwater world of clockwork fish, mermaid cities, giant starfish islands, tiny aliens and other amazing sights.  After looking through the pictures, the boy, who resembles Wiesner as a child, sends the camera back to sea with fresh film and a very special picture of himself. My children have combed through this book dozens of times and always find some small detail that they haven’t noticed before. Ages 4+

I have a soft spot for Scaredy Squirrel. I understand his state of constant neuroses coupled with a seemingly contradictory desire to experience the world. Like Scaredy I would like to completely control my environment, but alas, my (and his) plans are always going awry. But it is in that moment of spontaneity that the best fun is often had. In Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, a book by Melanie Watt, Scaredy is too afraid to go to the real beach, so he decides to recreate one using accessible materials such as cat litter and an inflatable kiddie pool. When he needs a shell to complete the experience, he decides to risk life and limb by going to the actual beach to pick one up. What he doesn’t count on is the crowd of people waiting for him there. My children enjoy watching Scaredy overreact to every situation, and then eventually learn to relax and adapt to new surroundings. Ages 4+

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies is a slightly bizarre, but beautiful book about bats visiting the beach. How you feel about this book probably depends on how you react to bats. Bats don’t particularly creep me (or my kids) out, so I was able to appreciate the image of bats swooping out of the eves of houses and descending onto an abandoned nighttime beach for their very own bat party. In some ways, the bats move and behave like bats; they eat insects, hang upside down and live in people’s attics. But they also have a collection of their own tiny beach supplies, surf the waves and sing around a campfire, much like humans. Both my kids love the line near the end – “As embers pop within the flames, little ones climb onto leathery lap, determined to rest but not to nap.” Ages 3+

I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry features a likeable, but egotistical giant squid who believes that he is the best artist in the ocean. When the other fish complain that he is making a mess, he replies that he is making a mess-terpiece and reveals his canvas to be a blue whale. My kids love talking about the different styles of art that the squid uses. I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean is also an entertaining and breezy read-aloud about the same clueless squid and other well-known sea creatures. Ages 3+

Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward and T.J. Marsh is a sweet and well-illustrated nautical version of the counting song, Somewhere in the Meadow. It features many popular sea creatures, including otters, sea horses, and turtles. My son is especially impressed with the hermit crab page. Earlier today, he spent a very long time contemplating which crab was his favorite – the one with the shiny shell or the one using a cup for its home. This book can be read or sung. Ages 2+

Shells! Shells! Shells! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace packs a lot of information into a little book, including many facts I did not know. But it maintains my five-year-old’s attention, partially because he is currently interested in learning more about shells, but more importantly because he can relate to Buddy, a silly, joke-telling bear who combs the beach for shells with his mom. Ages 5+

Speaking of informational books, Ms. Frizzle leads her class on yet another crazy field trip in Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor. Magic School Bus books are packed with facts about each subject and this one is no exception. Watch Ms. Frizzle’s bus become a submarine, explore different depths of the ocean and find out how the ocean’s ecosystem works. My scientifically inclined daughter is a fan of this book. Ages 5+

Additional Recommended Picture Books about the Beach

Easy Readers about the Beach

Other Links to Children’s Books about the Beach

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Children's Books about the Beach

Link to a blog post about the beach or add your own suggestions.

Source: http://childrensbookbin.com

Aug 02, 2013 - childrensbookbin.com - 765
8 Great Beach and Ocean Books for Children

Every year my family heads out to the Jersey Shore for a week of sun and fun. I always bring a stack of picture books with me, but this year I decided to bring stories that reflected what we were experiencing on our vacation.

Aug 01, 2013 - childrensbookbin.com - 1017
Reviews of Pirate Picture Books for Your Little Buccaneer

Beach weather is upon us and with that pirate season. Argh! Last year my parents and kids went on a "real" pirate ship, thanks to Pirate Voyages in New Jersey. After sailing the open sea (or at least the bay), "fighting" another pirate and drinking lots of "grog," both of them were committed to a life at sea, at least for an hour.

An Ode to Islands and Beaches: Four Water-themed Picture Books | on WordPress.com

I still have quite a lot of water-themed picture books that I borrowed from the library, and I shall attempt to review as many as I could until end of the year. I have grouped them into themes/categories and these four glorious picture books celebrate islands and beaches and waves.

Aug 01, 2013 - notimeforflashcards.com - 966
13 Books About The Beach For Kids - No Time For Flash Cards

Exploring the ocean, tide pools and the beach is great to do in person but if you are landlocked you can still share the wonders of the ocean with your children with great picture books. If you can go explore the beach reading books about the beach for kids like these before and after are a great way of deepening their hands on experience.

Aug 01, 2013 - teachingheart.net - 769
A Beach Unit - Beach lessons, links, ideas, and more for the classroom!

Teaching Heart's Beach Thematic Unit Put on your sunglasses and grab a lemonade... You will be laying in the shine of your computer and swimming around this page for beach ideas to use in your classroom. You will find beach crafts, beach lessons, beach books, beach activity sheets, and many more beach goodies.

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pirate picture books for kids

Reviews of Pirate Picture Books for Your Little Buccaneer

Beach weather is upon us and with that pirate season. Argh! Last year my parents and kids went on a “real” pirate ship, thanks to Pirate Voyages in New Jersey. After sailing the open sea (or at least the bay), “fighting” another pirate and drinking lots of “grog,” both of them were committed to a life at sea, at least for an hour. Here are reviews of eight pirate picture books for your young buccaneers and landlubbers.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, incorporates everything that children like about pirates – the silly language, the questionable hygiene practices and the missing limbs, without the more objectionable stuff – stealing, plundering, etc. A kid named Jeremy Jacobs is building a sand castle, when suddenly a pirate ship approaches the shore. The captain, Braid Beard, and his goofy crew are looking for directions – they have taken a wrong turn at Bora-Bora – and a digger to help them bury their treasure. They decide that Jeremy is their man and he goes off to become a pirate for a day. At first, Jeremy loves being a pirate. There are no rules, you can be as gross as you want to be at the dinner table – my son loves that part – and you never have to brush your teeth. Eventually, he gets homesick and the pirates decide to bury their treasure in his backyard. Then they come back to get the treasure in the sequel, Pirates Don’t Change Diapers, and meet their match – Jeremy’s baby sister. After reading these two books, my son decided that he is “a little pirate with no peg leg or hook.” He especially loves the pirate with two eye patches who keeps peeking out with his two good eyes. Ages 3+

What is the treasure pirates seek? Gold doubloons, jewels, fresh fruit perhaps? In Dirty Joe, the Pirate: A True Story by Bill Harley, smelly socks is the answer. He and his fearsome crew raid other ships and mercilessly steal them off sailors’ feet. They are undefeated, sailing through the open seas with their collection of flying socks, until they are outmatched by a ship with female pirates and captained by a familiar person. Could it be Joe’s beloved big sister? Unfortunately, these ladies are nabbing boys’ underwear. Not only does my son enjoy this book, but his sister comes running in from the other room when she hears me read it. Afterwards, they reenact the story. This book is definitely a kid-pleaser, especially for families with both boys and girls. Ages 3+

Pirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith is for toddlers everywhere who search under the couch cushions for hidden treasure. This book accomplishes three things: it teaches colors to kids, encourages napping and tells a 100% unoffensive pirate story. Two little pirates (boys) don’t want to take a rest and neither does the sea monster (baby sister). Eventually, fatigue catches up with them and they return to their ship (bed) and sleep. I read this story to my son when he was two and he loved it (and still does). Ages 2+

The Skeleton Pirate is a rather unique tale by David Lucas about a skeleton pirate who loves to fight and hates to get beaten. Finally, he is bested by other pirates and ends up stuck in a whale with a mermaid. The lovely mermaid teaches our unlikely hero that fighting is not always the solution to every problem. Together they brainstorm their way out of the whale. My daughter particularly likes the ending, when the mermaid and the skeleton fall in love. Strange, I know, but it works. Ages 4+

Are you good at doing voices? Can you talk like a pirate and a cowboy? If so, your child will love Pirates vs. Cowboys by Aaron Reynolds. This story is about a pirate crew and a cowboy posse who meet up and get caught up in a misunderstanding because they can’t figure out what the other is saying. Finally, a cowboy-pirate named Pegleg Highnoon comes to the rescue and lets them know what they all have in common – their stench. My son especially likes the manta-ray pirate and the wild boar cowboy. Ages 4+

In my opinion, An A to Z of Pirates is one the best alphabet books, especially for four-to-six-year-olds. Each page features a pirate scene with many hidden objects that represent each letter. It also manages to tell a story – if you pay attention carefully. Plus the rhyming text is reflective of “pirate talk” without putting your tongue in a knot. My son says that it helps him “learn a lot of letters.” Considering we are shoring up his pre-reading skills for kindergarten in the fall, that is a good thing. Ages 4+

The modern concept of a pirate is more fantasy than history, based mostly on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Everything I Know About Pirates follows this tradition by making up a bunch of random facts about pirates, designed to entertain kids. My five-year-old son likes some parts of this book, such as the treasure chest containing a pot, a typewriter, a chicken, an apple, etc., but other parts went over his head, such as the pirate name chart. My seven-year-old daughter enjoys this sort of satirical “nonfiction,” so the book is probably aimed more at her age group. Ages 6+

Additional Picture Books about Pirates

Easy Readers about Pirates

Songs about Pirates

Jake And The Never Land Pirates Album

Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Pirate Rock

Captain Feathersword
– Wiggles

A Pirate Says Arr

Yo, Ho! (A Pirate’s Life For Me)

Poem about Pirates

If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons
And Buccaneers and buried Gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of to-day:

–So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!

From Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Source: Project Gutenberg

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Children's Books about Pirates

Link to a blog post about pirate books or add your own suggestions!

Source: http://childrensbookbin.com

Jul 15, 2013 - childrensbookbin.com - 455
Reviews of Pirate Picture Books for Your Little Buccaneer

Beach weather is upon us and with that pirate season. Argh! Last year my parents and kids went on a "real" pirate ship, thanks to Pirate Voyages in New Jersey. After sailing the open sea (or at least the bay), "fighting" another pirate and drinking lots of "grog," both of them were committed to a life at sea, at least for an hour.

Jul 22, 2013 by Carrie Gelson - thereisabookforthat.com - 376
There's a Book for That

Pirateria written and illustrated by Calef Brown was our BLG book this week read by the very talented Bill who read sections in a very believable piratey "accent." This was one fun book and a very amusing read aloud experience! Bill started off with the title and immediately one child remarked that the title sounded a lot like "bacteria."

Jul 15, 2013 - plattekilllibrary.wordpress.com - 409
Plattekill Library Book Blog

Because we will be celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (we make our celebration last a week!) every year from now on, I've decided to make our own Pirate Book Page! Enjoy! Pirate themed books (childrens) Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi Captain Barnacle Black Ear, baddest of the Buccaneer Bunnies, is ashamed of his book-loving son, Henry, until the day a great storm approaches.

Jul 16, 2013 by Douglas Low - mild-manneredlibrarian.blogspot.com - 442
Mild-Mannered Librarian

Every self-respecting Geek knows that International Talk Like a Pirate Day is on September 19th, and even though my pirate accent is absolutely terrible (it turns Southern about midway through, kids don't seem to notice) this week's entries are going to be about Pirates! First up, my favorite storytime, read-aloud Pirate books.

Jul 16, 2013 - nytimes.com - 354
Pirate Picture Books Ahoy!

Just how child-friendly are pirates? Given the horrific headlines about actual pirates off the coast of Somalia, isn't it odd that parents happily read bedtime stories about the descendants of Long John Silver and eagerly look forward to the day when their preschoolers will be old enough to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" on DVD?

Jul 16, 2013 - challengingthebookworm.wordpress.com - 454
Challenging the Bookworm Blog

ARRRRRRRRR me matey! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Never heard of it? Where is your pirate spirit? It's an excuse to celebrate all things pirate, and a great theme for story times that will draw the sprogs (errr... I mean boys and girls) into the library.

Jul 16, 2013 - slfbookreviews.blogspot.com - 450
Good Books and the Random Movie: Pirates and Sea Stories
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