Check out Engineering Explorers, our newest online resource!

Math and Children’s Books: Fabulous, Fun and Fantastic! Part 1

by Kathleen Sheridan, PhD

I love children’s books. There are SO many to choose from. You can find children’s books about animals, friendship, sharing, being naughty, love, siblings, letters, being safe, being born, starting school, death…pretty much anything!  My latest passion is reading children’s books that foster mathematical thinking.

There are two rather sophisticated, fun and fantastic books that I want to tell you about this week.

The first is a book written by Barbara Kanninen and illustrated by Serge Bloch called Circle Rolls.

Circle Rolls

The main character in this book is a spunky, bespectacled Circle. That’s right, a circle—and all kinds of funny things happen when Circle starts to roll.

As Circle rolls, he smacks into Oval, who rocks because he is not perfectly round, and Square, who sits because his sides are straight. As Rectangle is bumped into, he stands and, as Triangle is smacked, he points. Then, as Circle hits the point of the Triangle, he POPS!  All kinds of crazy things happens when Circle pops and, soon, other shapes get involved.

This book is perfect for talking about the attributes of each of the shapes (the circle is round, the triangle has three sides and three points, etc.) In addition, the words rhyme. Rhyming helps children experience the rhythm of language. Through rhyming, they can anticipate the rhyming word, which will help them with making hypotheses, or predictions—an important early math and science skill.

My three-year-old grandson, Charlie, loves me to read this book with him—and we both laugh a lot when that circle POPS! Laughing and learning at the same time is a fantastic way to spend an early morning story time.

The second book is about a bunch of party-loving hippos called Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton.

Hippos Go Berserk!

Hippos Go Berserk starts with one hippo sitting all alone who calls two hippo friends to come over. Those hippos bring other friends and the party begins as the house fills up with hippos playing, partying and working.

They go BERSERK having a fantastic time all night long. When dawn breaks, the hippos start to leave in groups until just the one hippo is left, missing the other 44 that were with him all night long.

This is a great book for practicing counting, composing (adding) and decomposing (subtracting). It is also a just a fantastically fun book that children and adults of all ages love.

I highly recommend these two fabulous, fun and fantastic books that will leave you and your children laughing while you learn!


5 Replies to “Math and Children’s Books: Fabulous, Fun and Fantastic! Part 1”

  1. I have read “Circle Rolls” to my class and they just loved it. The discussion that followed amazed me. Not only did we discuss the shapes and what makes them each original, but what would may come from two different shapes becoming one; how many side, points, etc. It made learning the shapes that much more fun and easy. I would recommend this book to any teacher.

    1. Hi Melissa! I love the idea of talking with children about how what happens when 2 shapes become one! Also, discussing HOW many points, sides etc., helps children to understand what that particular shape is composed of. Great ideas and I am so happy you have read the book. Kids love math….we just have to help them by asking guiding questions! And providing a math rich environment…..including books. Thank you for reading! And….commenting

  2. I think that this is a great way to teach children about the patterns in shapes. Helping children to identify the particular shape as well as the repeating of the shape. By repeating this into a pattern it will help them understand the shape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *