November 8, 2015

Fresh From the Bookshelf~ Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant {Children's Book Review}

I am a huge proponent of teaching children how their math and science studies are relevant to the "real world". Because of this, I looked forward to reviewing the book Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant from Ann McCallum Books, a math adventure in a well known fairy tale. I hoped that the story would be catchy enough for Little Britches to enjoy, and for him to be able to learn a new math concept in the process!
Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant (Children's Book Review)
Jack has a giant can a 4-foot boy and a 20-foot giant boy ever really be friends? Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant by Ann McCallum is a math adventure to take your child through the beginning concept of ratio. The story follows a boy named Jack who awakens one morning to discover a giant beanstalk growing right by his house! Like the story you are familiar with, this mammoth vine came from magic beans, and naturally Jack decides he needs to explore. Unlike the story we are used to, Jack discovers a giant...boy! And this boy is sad because he doesn't have anyone to play with or to be his friend.

The rest of the book explores the new friendship between Jack and his giant friend Ray. How will they play together when one is so big and the other so small? Can they play hoopball? Checkers? How will they make a ladder big enough for the giant to come down to visit Jack? This book uses these scenarios to introduce the concept of ratio to your child. In each of the scenarios, the author uses real calculations for solving the problems, allowing your child to see math in action in the "real world".

Because this book is a storybook, I gave it to Little Britches to read on his own. He easily read it, and then he read it again, to enjoy the illustrations and story more thoroughly. After reading it, we discussed the concept being taught and evaluated times when we would need to use ratios in our daily life. Having a brother 4 years younger, makes this pretty easy to do, as he talked about ways to make games fair (like the story) for he and Baby Britches to play.

Showing Jack using ratio to calculate a beanstalk height
He thought the story was cute, but said it wasn’t very exciting. He said that it made the math concept of ratios easy to understand because it spelled it out very simply for him. His favorite part was Jack making the checkers to play with.

I think books where math is introduced in a “real world” concept is a great way to show children how math is all around us. I took Little Britches to a museum with a miniatures exhibit 2 years ago, and we recalled the experience after reading this book. We spoke about how they would use the concept to ratio in every aspect of creating a miniature world.

I look forward to pulling this book back out when we touch on ratios in our math curriculum later this year.

The only thing that I would wish was included in this book, is maybe a link to where you could print off your child coordinating practice problems based on the story. I think that would be a great extra. Or even just have it as an extra page or two in the back of the book.

About the Product and Author

Ann McCallum is the author behind Ann McCallum Books--a math teacher who is inspired to share education related adventures through reading and other fun activities--like eating! One of her newest series is the Eat Your...Homework where she explores concepts of math, science, and even U.S. History while cooking! Here is a list of the books available:

These books are easily designed to be used alone, or you could use them as supplements to your studies in school.

Want to Know More?

We enjoyed reading Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant by Ann McCallum Books. There were several other Ann McCallum books shared with our review team, so make sure you visit our anchor post to check out the full line of product we reviewed!
Ann McCallum Books Review

Make sure you check out Ann McCallum's Facebook page to stay up to date on her latest releases!

I look forward to checking out some of the other books by Ann McCallum Books, especially the Eat Your Homework series--and I encourage you to consider adding them to your collection!
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