Friday, March 12, 2010

Bean Thirteen

Written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott
Most enjoyed by readers in 1st through 4th grade

Division can be a tough concept to understand. The multiplication tables are memorized as well as addition and subtractions facts. But division can be particularly sticky. That's when it's great to have a book like 'Bean Thirteen' to help young mathematicians better understand the idea of division.

Ralph and Flora were picking beans for dinner. Ralph thinks the twelve beans they've chosen is enough, but Flora wants one more. Yikes, thinks Ralph, not the dreaded 13th bean! That's an unlucky number. The 13 beans come home anyway, despite Ralph's fears, only to confound the pair as they try to divide the beans equally among dinner guests. First, it's two groups of six but that leaves the unlucky 13th bean by itself. Then it's three piles of four beans but again, the 13th bean is left. Ralph and Flora continue to try to divide the beans equally, only to find that letting the dinner guests help themselves solves the problem.

The illustrations support the text with bright colors and clear views of the various ways the beans are grouped. Grab some beans (jelly beans would be perfect for this time of year!) and try practicing the same groupings Ralph and Flora create. A fun, and edible, way to explain a difficult concept!

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