Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace
1 + 1 = Us
The plot in a nutshell: Friends figure out all the equations that make up their lives
There’s no real plot at work here. The book is written in equations that summarize a lot of what makes up childhood (although a lot of it can also relate to adults). Some of the equations relate to the world, such as ‘big buildings + bustling = city.’ Others are more geared toward personal relationships, such as ‘yes + no = maybe,’ suggesting the idea of compromise. Some are life lessons, including ‘practice + practice = learning,’ followed by ‘practice + practice + practice = mastering.’ And a few are opinions, like the equation that states that ‘anything + sprinkles = better.’ (Okay, that’s probably more of a fact than an opinion.)
I think I have probably rambled on enough in earlier reviews about my love for author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Her approach to her subject matter is always innovative and fun and this book is no exception. I found myself sharing it with co-workers and family, pointing out that there are plenty of lessons in here that adults still need to learn. She carries the mathematical theme throughout the book, as well, even in the dedication and author pages. I particularly love the equations that clarify the differences between two things. For instance, pairing chalk with sitting equals school, but pairing chalk with jumping equals hopscotch. She’s pointing out that something like chalk has an academic side and a fun side (just like people). At least, that’s what I take away from it.
The artwork, from Jen Corace, is playful and colorful, following a few main characters through all the equations. She includes a cute little French bulldog in some of the pictures and does a wonderful job of showing us all the ways that these kids use these every day equations in their lives. I think a bonus of reading this book would be to come up with equations that are meaningful to your own family. I can think of quite a few fun ones that would have applied to mine. This is another high recommendation.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that life presents a lot of equations and everyone finds their own way to balance the books.