Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None

By Wendy Ulmer; illustrated by Laura Knorr
Sleeping Bear Press
www.sleepingbearpress.com

310 North Main St., Ste 300
Chelsea, MI 48118
800-487-2323

Sleeping Bear Press consistently publishes high-quality books. All of their large, hardcover, library-bound books are beautifully put together, with full-color illustrations in a variety of mediums and charming text in their 32 pages.

Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None is another fun and educational addition to their line-up. Harry, a young rabbit, is excited to begin his first day of work at the 4 Color Balloon Factory. Harry loves balloons more than anything and can't wait to get started. He is delighted to learn that his job is to blow up 100 balloons for Mrs. Doopido's birthday party. Harry blows up red balloons, yellow balloons, blue balloons, and green balloons. Mission accomplished! Or is it? The little bunny wants to make sure he has the correct number of balloons for the party, and that's where the trouble begins. Counting is confusing! Harry's co-workers give him ideas, but no matter what he does, the number still comes out wrong. What's a bunny to do? What is the best way to count to 100?

If you have children who think math is dull or impractical, Harry, the balloon-counting rabbit, will change their minds. Zero, Zilch, Nada is a clever way to introduce young children to counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s. They will giggle with Harry's unusual approach of keeping track of the balloons as he counts, and they will see that math has real-life applications. The illustrations are, as always with Sleeping Bear Press, delightful and just right for the story.

An added bonus--and one of the reasons I love Sleeping Bear books--is the free pdf file available on their website: http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/TeachersGuides/ZeroGuide.pdf The guide is full of learning activities that reinforce the story's concepts--counting, numbers, and even learning to mix colors. A parent can get a lot of mileage from one book this way. I appreciate the extra effort the publisher has gone to in order to make these activities available to teachers and homeschooling parents.

Product review by Susan K. Marlow, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010