I found This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations at our town library. As a leafed though it, I thought that my daughters would like it, so I brought it home. We have another book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal called Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons, and the girls have enjoyed that one. This Plus That was illustrated by Jen Corace.

The story is composed of a series of equations. The book combines English with math in ways that are quite clever:


My girls learned about the does not equal sign and what it means.

Blaming+eyerolling≠sincere apology
“I’m sorry+hug= sincere apology

We also learned about parenthesis:

(snow+carrot)+rosy cheeks=winter

And division:

chores÷ everyone= family

The illustrations are just charming. The children are beautifully rendered, and full of details. They work well with the content, and help to explain the concepts being discussed.

This is a simple story. There’s no prose, but the story unfolds through the equations. The two main characters are a girl with brown hair, and a second girl with red hair. As the equations demonstrate, they are good friends, and as they go through life together, there are a lot of learning experiences. The two girls are not the only characters: there is also a boy, and then various other members of the family make an appearance as well.

I would recommend This Plus That to others. The book has a very creative concept. It’s simple enough for my preschool aged twins to appreciate, but my first grader is the one who really enjoyed this book because it incorporates the math that she is learning at school into a sweet story. My oldest daughter has been having a lot of fun coming up with her own equations. We had to return our copy to the library, but I am definitely going to look into us getting our own copy.

If you’d like some more information, you can find it here: This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations

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