Carunungan and illustrator Jessica Liou imagine an eye-pleasing, bustling town and tale with six algebraic concepts (“Sets are groups of the same types of objects”) woven through–and a host of cheerful, diverse Whatever residents, kids and adults both, to apply them to clearly described situations. Readers (called “MathXplorers”) are invited to work out the puzzles with the townies, of course, and given space on the pages to do so. At times the layout, which often includes multiple concepts on one page or one concept repeated multiple ways, can get cluttered, and it isn’t always as intuitive and clear as the written explanations. Several clever activities are included, like a game involving buttons and dice to help design shirts; these can run multiple pages, interrupting the flow of the narrative. Repeat readings will likely make the book and its think-along math challenges more inviting.
Still, having a child-centered and interactive book that explains math concepts is something that could help even the most math-averse kids. Carunungan offers an engaging, colorful, and interactive resource for teaching younger kids math concepts through character examples.
Takeaway: The town of Whatever’s diverse characters and colorful illustrations help engage young readers in basic math concepts.
Great for fans of: Eve Merriam’s 12 Ways to Get to 11, Dayle Ann Dodds’s Minnie’s Diner.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A