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Math For Kids

September 13, 1998

I SPY TWO EYES: Numbers in Art. By Lucy Micklethwait (Greenwillow: 48 pp., $19)

Reproductions of 20 works of art housed in museums around the world offer opportunities to pick out specific details, stimulating readers' visual acumen and providing counting practice.

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UNO, DOS, TRES: One, Two, Three. By Pat Mora . Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee (Clarion: 32 pp., $14.95)

A trip through the market provides the chance for two young girls to buy everything they need for Mama's birthday, and Lavallee's stylized illustrations depict the many fine wares available in a typical Mexican market. The repetition of numbers in English and Spanish makes it easy for anyone to learn to count from one to 10--uno a diez--in both languages.

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WHO WANTS ONE? By Mary Serfozo . Illustrated by Keiko Narahashi (McElderry: 32 pp., $15, $4.95 paper)

A girl, dressed as a magician, conjures up 10 sets of imaginative things, one after the other, but her little brother wants only one. Readers see why, in the end, as one very real puppy emerges from the magician's box.

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NUMBER ONE NUMBER FUN. By Kay Chorao (Holiday House: 32 pp., $15.95)

The circus comes to town, bringing acts of animals in groups that are constantly changing. Four chickens meet four others on the high wire, making eight, until two fall off and the rest (8-2=?) start to squabble. Answers appear in balloons on every page.

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SEA SUMS. By Joy N. Hulme . Illustrated by Carol Schwartz (Hyperion: 32 pp., $13.95)

The lush splendor of a coral reef provides the setting for counting, adding and subtracting as sea creatures move in and out of view, sometimes swimming away and other times becoming other creatures' lunch. The text introduces the creatures and describes their numbers, and elsewhere on the page the same information is noted numerically. A considerable amount of information about undersea life is contained in this deceptively simple book.

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TEN TALL OAKTREES. By Richard Edwards . Illustrated by Caroline Crossland (Tambourine: 32 pp., $15)

Many books are organized around the principle of counting backward from 10, but few have the effect of this one, which shows how a stand of oak trees is steadily reduced, one at a time, until all that remains are bare fields and an empty skyline punctuated with power lines.

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THOSE CALCULATING CROWS! By Ali Wakefield . Illustrated by Christy Hale (Simon & Schuster: 40 pp., $16)

According to the author, an experiment has shown that crows can distinguish numbers up to seven. This story builds on that notion as Farmer Roy hides near his fields, waiting to scare off the crows that are eating his corn. But the guard crow sees him slip into the shed and warns the others not to return until Roy has gone to dinner. Thinking to outwit the crows, Roy brings his wife along with him and stays in the shed while she returns to the house, but the guard crow counts two going in and one coming out. Again and again Roy tries, each time adding an extra person until finally he succeeds. The illustrations help in making the story line easy to follow and providing extra details to count on each page.

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12 WAYS TO GET TO 11. By Eve Merriam . Illustrated by Bernie Karlin (Simon & Schuster: 40 pp., $15, $5.99 paper)

A dozen examples from a child's experiences show different groupings that add up to 11: nine pine cones plus two acorns, five pieces of popcorn plus six peanut shells, and so on. Simple, bright illustrations make it easy to distinguish items and count everything named in the text.

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ARCTIC FIVES ARRIVE. By Elinor J. Pinczes . Illustrated by Holly Berry (Houghton Mifflin: 32 pp., $14.95)

Arctic animals arrive five at a time, all crowding onto an ice outcropping to witness the magical northern lights.

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THE DOORBELL RANG. By Pat Hutchins (Greenwillow: 24 pp., $15, $3.95 paper)

Ma has made a dozen cookies for Victoria and Sam to share, but before they can start eating, the doorbell rings and two friends enter. Portions diminish with each new set of friends at the door until it's down to one cookie per person. Then the doorbell rings again, but this time Grandma enters with a whole new tray of cookies.

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ONE HUNDRED HUNGRY ANTS. By Elinor J. Pinczes . Illustrated by Bonnie MacKain (Houghton Mifflin: 32 pp., $13.95)

One hundred hungry ants march single file toward the picnic, but the littlest figures out that they'll get there sooner if they march in two lines, or in three, and he keeps stopping them to re-form the lines. By the time they arrive at the picnic site, they find only empty plates.

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A REMAINDER OF ONE. By Elinor J. Pinczes . Illustrated by Bonnie MacKain (Houghton Mifflin: 32 pp., $14.95)

The littlest bug in a squadron of 25 consistently gets left out as the troop forms two rows of 12, three rows of eight and four rows of six. With five rows of five, however, he is finally included.

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