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Marvin the Math Cat & the Mysterious Patio Garden

There is a quest waiting on Marvin and his best friend Dusty. It’s a mission unlike any the two cats could have ever pictured even in the wildest of their daydreams. When their math homework becomes more than the two can handle, they begin to notice math in the world around them. Determined to sit down and make a real go of it with the tough geometry assignment, Marvin soon finds himself lost in another world, and that world happens to be his math textbook!

Marvin the Math Cat and the Mysterious Patio Garden, by H & N Blackburn, is the mathematically-centered fantasy story of Marvin the Math Cat and his best friend Dusty. These two adorable characters have been tasked with math homework they would prefer to ignore. When their entire world turns upside down, the two friends find themselves solving riddles and following clues in order to complete a task which is actually the math the two have tried so hard to avoid.

The authors have done a truly amazing job of breaking down a math equation into a real life situation for their characters to solve. The immense amount of energy the main characters put into the quest is a great example for readers and drives home the usefulness and importance of a solid foundation in mathematics.

Included at the end of Marvin’s tale is an opportunity for readers to solve an equation of their own. Along with this incredibly detailed and in-depth problem is a list of math terms as well as illustrations to guide readers.

Marvin the Math Cat and the Mysterious Patio Garden, by H & N Blackburn, is a fantastic approach to building interest in math, especially geometry, the subject matter is appropriate for older students and the cast of characters likely appeals to a younger group of readers. The Blackburns’ work is thorough, well-written, and a great addition to a classroom library.

Pages: 41 | ASIN : B09SW7MNHW

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Alphabet of Flowers

Alphabet of Flowers by Gloria D. Gonsalves is a beautiful picture book for preschool through elementary level readers. Each page is a letter of the alphabet with a different flower, a few facts about the flower, and a crayon drawing of the flower. After the letter Z, there is a summary table with each flower’s name and its picture for a quick look at them all. Then there are a few activities at the end for children to do to review all the different flowers.

The first thing that readers will discover about this exceptional picture book is the artwork. It jumps off the page with vibrant colors and simplicity. Children will love seeing the illustrations done in a medium they have access to and can try and copy the flowers. Of course, this is encouraged by the author! The standard format for each page is excellent as well. It would make it easy to use this book when teaching about the alphabet and be easily turned into a lesson plan.

I was impressed with the variety of included flowers; many are ones I have not heard of before, and they are fascinating. The simple facts are interesting but not overwhelming for children. The language is easy to understand and flows well, keeping the same format for each page. This writing style, repetition, is perfect for the younger readers but is not overly simplified so that older children would lose interest.

Alphabet of Flowers is a stunning picture book introducing young readers to the wide variety of flowers that are out in the world. It also serves as a unique way to teach the alphabet to preschool and kindergarteners. In addition, teachers and homeschoolers could easily turn this book into a complete unit study on flowers with the activities included in the book for review.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09VX8N9QL

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I Played With Food For a Living

Ali Manning Author Interview

Can I Play With My Food? follows two sisters as they learn where Food comes from and how Food is used in science. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The book began as a passion project and a way to reconnect to some of the artistic things I’ve loved to do since childhood. I also used to tell people I “played with food for a living,” so I thought the title was perfect because what better way to learn than through play. I was inspired to create a character loosely based on my sister Alexis, who has Down’s Syndrome because I wanted to create an inclusive book where children who aren’t typically represented in literature can see themselves.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Taylor Bou?

Taylor was able to bring my vision to life by creating relatable characters who represent individuals in all of our lives. The collaboration was effortless because he confidently believed in the messaging and what this book means for BIPOC children and those with special needs.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It’s essential for BIPOC children, especially those with special needs, to see themselves and see what’s possible. The book also provides information about food sources and exposes children to the concept of food science as a career path.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Yes! I have a few other books in mind that feature more BIPOC children with Downs and share other elements of my life and career.

Date: TBD (I’m just basking in the moment of my first publication.)

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Can I Play with my Food?

Can I Play with my Food? is a fantastic picture book about two sisters, Nema and Lexi. Together, they learn about where their food comes from, how you can use food in science, and how cooking and baking are also science. The girls are amazed to learn that food does not start out at the grocery store. They discuss growing food on farms and in gardens and what animals can also be food. At school, they learn that food can be used for more than just eating as they work on a science experiment.

Author Ali Manning has written a creative children’s book that explores where food comes from while encouraging imaginative thoughts. The character Lexi is based on the author’s own sister, that has Down Syndrome. Lexi shows some traits of Down Syndrome, and the author uses this to promote compassion and acceptance for those with a disability.

While the girls are making a lava lamp in science, they realize all the ingredients to do the experiment are things that they can find at home in the kitchen. Even when the experiment doesn’t go as planned, the girls are not discouraged. This experiment gets Lexi imagining that she too could become a scientist one day.

Taylor Bou illustrates this light-hearted children’s book with colorful and charismatic images. Nema and Lexi’s inquisitive personalities show through as they go about their day asking questions and trying new things. Their bubbly nature is fun and relatable to children.

Can I Play with my Food? is a touching picture book that young elementary and kindergarten children will be captivated by. The expressive illustrations will keep them engaged, while the superb narrative will give them lots to talk about. This is a great inclusive children’s book that teaches morals and science that teachers will love to use this in the classroom.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B09NTX3JQD

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