Elem. – Usha and the Big Digger

Knight, Amitha Jagannath. Usha and the Big Digger. Charlesbridge, 2021. 978-1-623-54202-3. Unpaged. $15.99. Grades K-2.

Usha loves trucks of all shapes and sizes, so when her big sister shows her the Big Dipper constellation in the sky one night, Usha has a different point of view. She sees a Big Digger, a front loader ready to scoop up the sky. This leads to a fight between the girls, who cannot see the other’s vision. Then cousin Gloria sees the constellation as a kite. Who’s right? Well, it literally depends on your point of view – where each girl is laying on the ground. As Usha rotates through the various positions, she sees a dipper and a kite, before finally finding her Big Digger again. Additional activities at the back of the book discuss how cultures in different parts of the world have a variety of names for the same set of stars, while “Exploring the Math” encourages adults and children to further explore rotation, orientation, and perspective. While the literal interpretation of the book deals with perspective in space, it will also work as a discussion starter on individual point of view and how we should work to understand another’s vision. Usha and her family are Black.

THOUGHTS: A cute, visual introduction to the constellations, as well as talking about point-of-view. Usha, as a young girl who loves trucks, delightfully breaks stereotype.

Picture Book          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

Elem. – The Perfect Fit

Jones, Naomi. The Perfect Fit. 1st American ed., Kane Miller, 2021. 978-1-684-64141-3. Unpaged. $14.99. Grades K-3.

Triangle loved playing with the circles, but sometimes she felt a bit different. She couldn’t roll like the circles and often felt like she was getting in their way. Therefore, she set off in search of friends who were more like her. She played with some squares, but soon realized she couldn’t stack like them. She played with the hexagons, but found that she kept messing up their pattern. Finally, Triangle discovered other triangles who were exactly like her. However, it wasn’t long before Triangle realized that it was a lot more fun for all of the shapes to play together. A cute story with a strong positive message about acceptance and inclusion, this book would be an excellent addition to any elementary collection.

THOUGHTS: I love the many ways in which this book could be used in an elementary setting. It could be used to introduce geometrical shapes and patterns, or it could be used to initiate a discussion about acceptance and inclusion. Pair it with other titles that celebrate diversity and differences, such as Lisa Mantchev’s Strictly No Elephants (2015) and Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different (2001).

Picture Book          Julie Ritter, PSLA Member

Reading Across the Curriculum…in the Stone Age!

lines spheres squares
Bailey, Gerry and Felicia Law. Mike Phillips, Ill. Stone Age Geometry (6 book series). New York: Crabtree, 2014. $19.87 ea.
Stone Age Geometry: Circles. 978-0-7787-0507-9.
Stone Age Geometry: Cubes. 978-0-7787-0508-6.
Stone Age Geometry: Lines. 978-0-7787-0509-3.
Stone Age Geometry: Spheres. 978-0-7787-0510-9.
Stone Age Geometry: Squares. 978-0-7787-0511-6.
Stone Age Geometry: Triangles. 978-0-7787-0512-3.

Stone Age Geometry explores fascinating mathematical shapes through real world examples explained by characters Leo, the stone age genius, and his pet cat, Pallas. Readers (and Pallas) learn about geometric concepts as Leo and Pallas design brilliant and unique inventions throughout their mathematical journeys. The series includes circles, cubes, lines, spheres, squares, and triangles. In each book Leo’s inventions reveal key vocabulary terms and important concepts of the geometry curriculum. Each book also includes glossary and various pictures, drawings, graphs, and charts to illustrate the shape and the concept of how it is used in everyday life.  This series is a valuable instructional resource to introduce new and unfamiliar concepts to students in a fun and educational way. Leo provides 15 informational lessons explaining concepts, real world examples, and pictures depicting each invention.  Although recommended for grades 5-8, this series is a fabulous resource for high school geometry classes and promotes reading across the curriculum.

Geometry (516)    Heather McQuiston, Teacher, Lincoln HS, Ellwood
                                 Erin Parkinson, Librarian, Lincoln HS, Ellwood City