Last year, when Nick was in fourth grade, he fell in love with Math. And it was all because of one teacher. Mrs. Daniels loved to teach. She loves math. And she loves her fourth grade students. She had been teaching fourth graders for many years and when she stood in front of her class, you could feel her passion for her kids and her subject matter.
And that made all the difference in the world.
It was through his time with her that Nick developed major Math skills. And it continued through this year as well, even though he had a different teacher.
I am forever grateful for the teachers that teach because they love it. The kids. Their subjects. Finding new ways to reach their students. Because it resonates ten thousand fold.
So when I was asked if I wanted to review Bedtime Math, Laura Overdeck’s first book, I immediately said yes. I was intrigued by the concept of brushing up, learning, or practicing Math skills at bedtime. It all started when Laura and her husband would count their daughter’s stuffed animals as they put her to bed. Two more kids later, and it evolved into small Math problems and stories. Then, on a lark, she started e-mailing the Math problems to friends and family members, and just a few short months later, with their encouragement and countless e-mail forwards, there was a web site, an e-mail marketing plan, and 20,000 followers on facebook.
Each page in the book has a short story, giving some background on a fact:
Getting a Jump On It
Thanks to their big, strong hind legs, kangaroos can leap up to 30 feet with a running start. The biggest kind, the red kangaroo, can spring as far as 40 feet! And kangaroos don’t just jump far, they fly high – almost 9 feet up into the air. If you could jump that far and that high, you could get around the house a lot faster than you do walking, but you’d hit your head on the ceiling more, too.
Now, after you read the little story, the facing page is where the Math problems are:
Wee ones: A kangaroo has 4 legs. How many legs do a mama kangaroo and the baby in her pouch have together?
Little kids: If a kangaroo takes 3 giant leaps and each leap is 20 feet long, how far does the kangaroo travel?
Big kids: If cars are 6 feet wide, how many cars parked side by side could your pet kangaroo clear with a 24-foot leap?
So beyond the idea that you are reading fun little stories that are educational, you also get a little bit of Math in as well. And past that? This book is perfect for such a wide age range because it has the three different Math problems alongside each story, designed to target different age groups and skill levels.
Love that. It means that the book works for both Madeline *and* Nick, even though they’re almost six years apart.
Both kids loved Bedtime Math, and the whole idea behind it, especially because it was so different than the usual bedtime story. The topics of the little stories throughout the book are quite varied, from animals and food to even roller coasters, and it’s also beautifully colored with eye-catching drawings that pop.
And a bonus? The answers are written in small print, upside down, on every page so you can check your kids’ Math answers as you go.
A big thumbs up from the O’Malley crew.
Hungry for more book reviews? Here are a few of our favorites.
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun is all about embracing the different.
If I Could Keep You Little is one of my favorites, and a wonderful reminder on how quickly this time goes.
A Bad Case of Stripes is a run, lively, colorful story that your kids will love.
Tomorrow? Fourth of July pictures in review.