By: Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed
Illustrated by: Karen Lee
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: June 2008
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor
Review Date: December 26, 2010
From the team who created One Odd Day and My Even Day comes another math-related book called My Half Day, which brings fractions alive with lively verse and spirited illustrations. My Half Day features the same young boy who this time wakes up in a world of fabulous fractions. His head is half-shaved, his breakfast milk is two-thirds gooey paste, and he heads out to Camp Fraction where he finds four-fifths of the counselors roller-skating by.
This picture book features playful rhyming verses that capture interest and entertain as they expose young readers to fraction concepts. At camp, the kids play soccer with a team of friendly and funny aliens. “The outer-space team looked both stunned and agog, as we squeezed ‘round a campfire on THREE-TENTHS of a log. We roasted Mars-mallows and at Saturn-s’mores. A rocket ship landed and opened its doors.” Like One Odd Day and My Even Day, Karen Lee creates alluring illustrations that draw in readers and spur them to seek out many fractions and silly sights hidden on each page. The canny facet of Lee’s buried treasures within each picture encourages readers to spend additional time scouring each page, all the while hopefully engaged in valuable conversation about fractions.
This book is classified in the four- to eight-year-old (pre-K to third grade) interest levels; however these grade levels do not restrain the mathematical concepts in My Half Day. Young children are exposed to the more complicated fractions (such as four-ninths and two-sevenths) typically reserved for the upper grade levels. On one hand, this exposure will have young children contemplating and mentally manipulating complicated fraction concepts in very impressive ways. But on the other hand, the authors have not fully integrated the core concept for this age group to understand that fractions are a part of a whole. For example, as the campers and aliens sit on three-tenths of a log, the illustration doesn’t expressly demonstrate the concept that if the log was divided into tenths, the characters would only be sitting on three parts of it.
As with other Sylvan Dell books, the learning experiences expand well beyond the story. In the back of the book, the “For Creative Minds” educational section includes real world applications of fractions as well as activities with learning questions to expand the readers’ understanding of fractions with hands-on experimentation. There is also a simple, colorful worksheet prompting readers to match the fraction and corresponding decimal to the pictures. The learning opportunities continue on www.SylvanDellPublishing.com, which provides pre- and post-reading comprehension questions, an online quiz and well-crafted learning activities in most of the learning strands. All these exceptional extras make My Half Day an educational dream for teachers, parents and homeschooling families!
Quill says: This book exposes young children to the world of fractions in a fun way that expands to learning beyond the page.