Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book #297: How Many Jelly Beans? By Andrea Menotti, Illustrated by Yancey Labat

Image from BarnesandNoble.com
It all starts when Emma and Aiden are asked how many jelly beans they would like. They start off small, ten, twenty, twenty-five. But then it becomes a jelly bean competition! If Aiden wants fifty than Emma wants seventy-five! Soon the competitors are asking for hundreds and then thousands of jelly beans! Finally, the two decide on a million jelly beans and the illustration of those one million jelly beans is a ten page, double-sided foldout!

This oversized book begins simply enough with small numbers and illustrations of larger than life jelly beans. Each number is written in words (i.e. twenty-five, not 25) and the correct number of jelly beans is shown on the page. As the numbers rise the jelly beans shrink so that they can squeeze onto the page. Labat’s illustrations provide visual variation; sometimes the jelly beans are scattered, corralled into shapes or numbers, or arranged by color. Although the reader expects Emma and Aiden to say one hundred or one thousand jelly beans, it’s truly a surprise when they shout, “What about ONE MILLION jelly beans?” All the text is dialogue and most of it is contained in speech bubbles. The children and their dog, Murphy, are rendered in cartoony black lines on a white background. The jelly beans however are a riot of colors and flavors. All illustrations were rendered digitally.

Use this for a storytime about really big numbers and pair it with How Much is a Million?

This book provides several great connections to math lessons. Here are a few ideas that can be simplified for preschoolers or made more complex for elementary school kids. Look at the illustration that shows how many jelly beans you could eat in a day if you evenly distribute 1,000 over a year and talk about multiplication and division. Have the kids choose a number of jelly beans and figure out how many that would be per day or conversely, have them decide how many they want to eat per day and then multiply to find out how many they would need for the year. Make it more complicated by asking them to further divide or multiply to include their friends.

Talk about percentages and averages by looking at the page that shows how many jelly beans of each flavor Aiden would choose. Bring in a bag of jelly beans and have the kids separate and count them by color (the fewer flavors in the bag the easier the activity). Have them figure out the percentage and average number of each color. Have them create a graph or chart to illustrate their findings.

Check out Playing By the Books for more activity ideas. I love that they created a work of art with their candies that incorporated the total number. 

Mr. Schu has a wonderful interview with Menotti posted on his blog, Watch. Connect. Read. Menotti includes suggestions for activities and books that tie in with this one.


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