Maths Words for Little People: Shapes / Sums


Helen Mortimer and Cristina Trapanese
Oxford Children’s Books

These are titles in the Maths Words For Little People series that aims to develop young children’s confidence in mathematical vocabulary and early maths concepts.

Set indoors, Shapes begins by affirming that our everyday lives are full of different shapes – both flat and solid. Some are made of straight sides and corners whereas others – curved shapes – have no corners. (Examples of each are given.)

Various kinds of pattern are depicted, as are shape sequences and tessellation.

A simple explanation of solid shape with several examples in varying sizes comes next, followed by a look at (bilateral) symmetry and finally there are a few questions for young children to answer. For adult users are ten suggestions for getting the most out of the book; and the final page has a brief glossary.

Using a similar structure, and a garden setting, Sums has spreads on more and less, add and take away, and part and whole.

A variety of arrangements of five objects (seeds) is presented and little ones are encouraged to count each set. Counting on and counting back are introduced along with a number line for some practice,

followed by a spread with ladybirds that focuses on the +, – and = signs. The notion that order matters in subtraction but not in addition is demonstrated and then we meet zero and how it has no bearing on the answer if zero is added or subtracted.
Daisy patterns are used to explain number bonds for five and the last spreads follow the same structure as Shapes.

Visually attractive, with fun characters and written in an engaging manner, these little books are ideal for one to one sharing at home and should help young children be more mathematically assured in a nursery or other early years setting.

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