The following review of 2017 Mathical Award Winner Absolutely One Thing: Featuring Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child was submitted by Mathical Selection Committee member Fran Wilson.
The math fun begins when Lola and Charlie are told that they can get one treat from the store. Charlie asks whether that’s two things as in 1+1 or one thing as in 2÷2. Readers will actively begin counting the minutes it takes the children to get ready to leave with their mother and giggle as Lola attempts to count all the polka dots on her dress. More adventures follow on the way as Lola stops to count the ladybugs on the path and questions how many shoes and socks would be needed for all their feet! Charlie helps Lola practice her counting skills and learn about numbers as they count the birds, estimate the number of leaves on the tree, and keep track of the number of steps to the store. Of course picking out treats involves calculating the time it takes each to make their selection and subtraction is practiced as Lola gives away each of her twelve stickers on the journey home.
This humorous text shows how even young children use math in their lives each day. Examples of the basic operations of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing are carefully woven into the text. The number filled end pages invite the reader into the math adventure that follows. The colorful illustrations, that include even more numbers and some equations, complement the text. Children will be delighted by this enjoyable story that prompts them to count along, see math in action, and inspires an interest in math.
Absolutely One Thing: Featuring Charlie and Lola
By Lauren Child
Candlewick Press, 2016
2017 Mathical Honor Book, Grades K-2
Mathical selection committee member Fran Wilson is a teacher at Madeira Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio.