Children’s Corner: Max’s Math by Kate Banks

Children’s Corner: Max’s Math by Kate BanksMax's Math by Kate Banks
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on March 10th 2015
Genres: Concepts, Counting & Numbers, Imagination & Play, Juvenile Nonfiction
Pages: 40
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
IndieBoundBarnes & Noble
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Max and his two brothers hop into a car and go looking for problems they can solve. They cruise down highway number 4 on their way to Shapeville, but they see an abandoned number along the way. Is it a 6? Is it a 9? And what's it doing on the side of the road? Once the trio reach Shapeville, there's another problem: a flood washed away all of the squares. Max and his brothers show the town that putting together two triangles will bring their shapes back together, and then they follow the residents on a trip to Count Town, where they put the missing number back in its place in the countdown to a rocket's blastoff.

Among those inspired by British educator Charlotte Mason, you’ll often hear people use the term “living books.” This concept can apply to both fiction and nonfiction (which could make for a whole other post!) but in the world of nonfiction, think “narrative” nonfiction. Living books are marked by their high literary quality and their ability to get readers excited about the topics and ideas contained within, delivering that information in an engaging and inspiring way.

Max’s Math is a perfect example of a living math book.

Mathematical concepts are delivered in a way that is natural and pertinent to the storyline: numbers and counting skills, one-to-one correspondence, basic addition and subtraction, shapes and simple geometry, and the importance of zero, just to name a few. It’s a picture book for young readers, so the language is simple. But it’s also beautiful: the town was “littered” with shapes, numbers were “dashing.” The illustrations are fun and interesting without being too busy, and completely support the storyline in little ways that are revealed later in the book. My 5-year-old was constantly exclaiming, “Oh cool, look!” and making so many connections between the pictures and the storyline, I’m not sure I could list them all.

Very impressed with this title. I hope there are more math adventures in Max’s future!