Reviews for How Many Blue Birds Flew Away? : A Counting Book With A Difference

Booklist Reviews 2005 October #2
PreS-K. This attractive math-concept book adds addition and subtraction to a basic counting exercise. Each double-page spread features a striking scene drawn from a child's world--a plate of apples and oranges, kids and parents waiting at a bus stop, and so on. In a set of rhythmic, repetitious questions, the text instructs children to identify how many of two different types of objects are pictured (pens and pencils, for example) and then determine how much larger one group is than another: "How many pencils were there? How many pens were there? How many more pencils than pens were there?" The clear, simple presentation, greatly enhanced by Crews' lovely gouache images, turns the math concepts into puzzles that kids will want to solve, and a closing spread of a city skyline, black against a sky filled with stars ("too many to count!"), makes this a fine choice for winding down at bedtime. ((Reviewed October 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
This is both a counting and a subtraction book. The narrator wonders about numbers of various things s/he sees, such as buttons and pockets on multiple coats; s/he then wonders how many more of the greater quantity (e.g., buttons) there are. Crews's colorful illustrations complement the text precisely. This book will encourage careful study, for no answers are given. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2005 August #1
The difference in this counting book is the difference-it's all about subtraction. Future mathematicians will get great practice in not only counting and subtracting, but also in grouping and determining which items have similar attributes. As the narrator goes through his day, he asks questions about the things he sees, much like the little boy from Jon Scieszka's Math Curse. When he removes an apple from the fruit bowl, he wonders: How many apples are there? How many oranges? How many more apples than oranges? At the bus stop, he ponders the numbers of hats versus gloves and the numbers of black and blue birds. The day's subtracting finally ends as the narrator gazes up at the moon and stars. The wording on each page differs only in the objects observed, allowing youngsters to keep the focus on counting and finding the differences. Crews makes the attributes to be counted clear in his illustrations, but at the same time demonstrates the wide variety that can be found within categories: colors, shapes and sizes. An excellent addition to every primary teacher's bookshelf or home library. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2005 September

K-Gr 2 -Although this book can be used with children learning to count and subtract, it falls short in many other ways. The gouache illustrations are bland and the text is dry, labored, and boring. The "difference" alluded to in the subtitle refers to the questions that readers are asked to figure out. For example, the first page shows a bowl of fruit and youngsters are asked, "How many apples were there? How many oranges were there? How many more apples than oranges were there?" In addition, there is no plot or real story line; instead the book reads like a series of math exercises. Children will quickly lose interest and tire of the repetitiveness. Libraries would be better off sticking with books by Stuart J. Murphy and Amy Axelrod, who know how to put fun into math while telling a story, too.-Lisa S. Schindler, Bethpage Public Library, NY

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