Shaping Up Summer
Lizann Flatt; illustrated by Ashley Barron; $14.95 cloth 978-1-926973-87-6, 32 pp., Owl Kids, 2014 (ages 5 to 7)
Fourth in the successful Math in Nature series, Shaping Up Summer follows Counting on Fall, Sizing Up Winter, and Sorting through Spring. Like the other season-based titles, this information book celebrates the wonders of nature through its engaging, poetic text, thought-provoking questions, and richly textured, brilliantly coloured artwork. The book begins with the question, “Do you think that math matters to the animals and plants? What if nature knew numbers like you?” From there, young readers journey through page spreads centred on different animals. Each spread contains a question (“Would spiders weave webs to spin silken scenes?”) and encourages children to search and identify shapes and lines (“Can you see cone shapes?”).
Muskoka Ontario author, Lizann Flatt is the former editor of Chickadee magazine. Her other book credits include The Nature Treasury and Let’s Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here,which was chosen as the TD Grade One Giveaway Book for 2009. In Shaping Up Summer Flatt demonstrates again how skillfully she combines playful prose with nature and mathematical learning. Parents and educators may wish to share this picture book with pre-schoolers, emphasizing the hunt for shapes, and using the artwork to spark conversations and learning opportunities. Five- and six-year-olds will enjoy having the story read aloud and will delight in the interaction that ensues. The inclusion of “Nature Notes” at the back of the book offers another layer of more sophisticated learning, ensuring that this book will continue to enrich children as they progress toward higher level math concepts.
Ashley Barron is a Toronto-based illustrator whose shape-savvy style is ideal for this inviting series. Her eye-catching, textured work has been featured in children’s books, packaging, set designs, and more. The cut-paper collage illustrations are warm and inviting, and the art-inspired math concepts are much more than circles, squares, and triangles.
Indeed, the author-illustrator duo build upon ever-challenging math activities from the simple spotting of basic shapes to finding lines of symmetry, describing rotation (e.g., turn, flip, slide), and giving increasingly complex directions (e.g., left/right; under/over). This is a book that truly celebrates math in a non-intimidating, interactive way. It’s a surefire winner for classrooms and home libraries alike.
Read More »
Photo: “Flowers and Feet,” Eden Mills, Ontario
I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to share some great news! I’ve been invited to speak at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on September 16th, 2012. The festival runs from noon until 6:00 p.m. If you live in southwestern Ontario, you might want to add this date to your calendar. Treat yourself to a relaxing and inspiring day in a bucolic village.
It is a huge honour to be asked to present at this festival. I’ll be presenting Backyard Circus, which means the clown garb, circus accoutrements, and a mega-dose of FUN. Other children’s authors will include Helaine Becker, Ben Caesar, Lizann Flatt, Susan Glickman, Susan Hughes, Monica Kulling, and Ted Staunton. Young adult authors include Karen Bass, Pat Bourke, Evan Munday, Allan Stratton, Mariko Tamaki, Teresa Toten, Janet Wilson, and Julie Wilson. I’m super excited about finally meeting some children’s book authors with whom I’ve corresponded but not met: Monica Kulling, Susan Hughes, Helaine Becker, and Lizann Flatt. And I’m excited about meeting many others, too.
Of course, there are awe-inspiring adult writers who will be there as well. Alistair MacLeod, Ami McKay, Donna Morrissey, and Michael Ondaatje are some of my faves. Festival founder, “unruly storyteller,” and author Leon Rooke will be there.
When I think of the cumulative stack of awards represented by this year’s festival participants, I feel dizzy! There are GG winners, Booker prize winners, a Charles Taylor Prize recipient, Top 100 National Post books, a Norma Fleck Award winner, and more. Are you feeling dizzy now, too?
I used to live in this village, so it holds MANY memories for me.
If you’re like me, after perusing the website, you’ll want to rush out to your nearest bookstore and library to stock up and GET READING!!!
Read More »