Gumballs: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure: Keith Baker
November 13, 2014
Book: Gumballs: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure (Green Light Readers, Level 2)
Author: Keith Baker
Age Range: 6-9 (early reader)
Gumballs: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure, is an early reader that tells a story, while also illustrating the concept of estimation. All in a six-year-old-friendly package. Mr. and Mrs. Green are an alligator couple (also featured in several other early readers), distinguishable from one another by their different neck-wear.
In Gumballs, Mr. and Mrs. Green come across a contest to guess the number of gumballs in a jar. Mrs. Green takes a guess. But Mr. Green estimates based on the number of gumballs that he thinks would be in a cup, and the apparent size of the gumball jar. Incidental concepts illustrated thus include conversion (number of cups to a gallon) and multiplication. But the math doesn't really get in the way of the story. Readers will share in Mr. Green's delight in the contest, and the appreciation that both Greens have for gumballs.
Gumballs uses short sentences and frequent colorful illustrations, to keep the text accessible to new readers. For example:
"At home, Mr. Green stretched out for a nap.
Mrs. Green began to paint--
she was inspired by all the gumball colors.
While she painted..."
Small pictures show Mr. Green napping and Mrs. Green painting. There are a few trickier words, like "inspired", but I think that kids will be able to figure them out from the context of the story.
Now, as a person with a fairly extensive math background, I found it a bit implausible that Mr. Green's estimation method was able to come up with exactly the correct number of gumballs. I am unable to stop myself from sharing this gripe with my daughter when we read the book. But she doesn't care. And my pleasure in finding an early reader that is about numbers and estimation outweighs this minor criticism.
Baker's acrylic paint illustrations are bright and energetic. The gumballs lend a particular joie de vivre to the book. Mr. Green's dream of a gumball galaxy is especially appealing.
All in all, Gumballs is an early reader that I am more than happy to read with my child (no small statement - many of them are tedious for adults). I look forward to seeing other books in the series. Recommended for home, school, or library purchase.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHBooks)
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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