Prather’s Pick: ‘100 Snowmen’ makes learning math fun
A few weeks ago this column reviewed a funny picture book about 100 chickens. Besides being a ton of fun to read, the book can be helpful in teaching children math. So, now, I have found a book with 100 snowmen characters.
“100 Snowmen” was written by Jen Arena and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. The picture book is published by Two Lions (2013). Readers can’t help but be entertained by the snowmen’s antics and their diverse costumes, but mostly, the book will help children practice their addition.
The book begins with one slender snowman, who has an unusually long carrot nose, standing in the snow by himself. As the reader looks at the page on the right, he or she notices two more snowmen are coming to join the first. One is wearing a cap with flaps that can be pulled down over his ears (that is, if he had ears), and the other has a baseball cap balanced on his head. At the bottom of the page the reader finds: 1+2=3.
The reader turns the page and finds three snowmen lying on the snow, where they are counting the stars in the night sky. One snowman even uses a pair of binoculars. Four more snowmen are having a snowball fight. That’s on the page to the right. The total number of snowmen now is: 3+4=7.
The book continues in this manner, with the number of snowmen growing larger and larger. For every two pages, there is math to add up the total snowmen for the two pages.
Boy, do the snowmen have fun. They ride downhill on a sled, roast marshmallows over a bonfire, build an impressive fort from snow blocks, make a snowshoe track, play musical instruments, race on skis and even do the hula (dressed for the part in a hula skirt).
The snowmen enjoy making goofy faces, trying on hats and mittens and even playing with kittens they find in a cart bearing a sign: “Kittens free to a good home.”
At the end of the book, all of the snowmen are there together, plus the kittens. Will the readers count the snowmen? The author has added them up: 1+2+3+4 … all the way to 100.
Arena received an Oppenheim Gold Award for her book “Little Flower Girl.” Illustrator Stephen Gilpin has illustrated more than 30 children’s books.
“100 Snowmen” costs $14.99 in hardcover, though you might find it in paperback. The book can also be found at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.