Review of Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations

Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations
by Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Micha Archer
Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp.
2/19    978-1-58089-798-3    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-63289-643-8    $9.99

This whimsical celebration of spring-time features a playful equation poem on every page. Take the titular “snowman – cold = puddle.” It’s a subtraction sentence — minus the usual numbers — and a brainteaser, too. To help flesh out the “math,” a brief paragraph explains that “when spring temperatures rise above freezing, snow melts into water. Sad news for snowmen!” On each new double-page spread, equations are again paired with a few sentences that are always informative and often lyrical: “Lilac blooms are spring’s perfume”; “Raindrops bend sunlight.” For the equation “hive + bees – bees + bees = airport,” Salas describes the behavior of scout honeybees: “Bees fly out. In. Out. In. Out. In. You could get dizzy watching busy bees!” It’s lively language that begs to be read aloud. Tracing the season’s changes from early to mid to late spring, Archer’s collage illustrations are rich with texture and detail. In a rain-streaked scene, a girl’s hair beads peek out from under her yellow rain hat, offering a glimpse of a rainbow. To — ahem — sum things up, this picture-book blend of math, science, and poetry welcomes — and explains — the hallmarks of spring with effortless ebullience. Author and illustrator notes, a description of different ways to define the start of spring, and further reading suggestions are appended. Pair this with Betsy Franco’s Mathematickles! (rev. 7/03).

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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