School Library Journal

School Library Journal: Bean Thirteen

K-Gr 3—In this humorous introduction to the concept of division, 2 bugs gather 13 beans and try to devise a way to share them evenly. Flora and Ralph think of several scenarios but in the end they still have “bean thirteen” left over. Even inviting their friends for dinner doesn’t resolve the problem. Whether they plan on one guest or six, the beans cannot be arranged into equal portions. Then Ralph accidentally knocks the beans to the floor as their company arrives. He places all 13 into one bowl and each guest takes as many as he or she would like to eat. This resolves the problem, but leaves Flora and Ralph wondering who ended up consuming unlucky “bean thirteen.” The story’s pacing and the dialogue between the two bugs help children analyze the situation and follow the different possible grouping solutions. The large, limalike beans are a great visual aid and are easy to see when the book is read aloud. Done in pen and ink with digital effects, the cartoon illustrations feature bright hues and slightly off-kilter perspectives that will appeal to children. Youngsters will undoubtedly enjoy this funny tale; teachers will truly appreciate the connections it makes to their curriculum and the use of manipulatives in math.—Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA