Sunday, December 13, 2009

REVIEW: The Lion's Share

McElligott, M.  (2009).  The Lion's Share:  A tale of halving cake and eating it, too.  New York:  Walker & Company.


Appetizer:  The lion hosts a dinner for some of the other animals and they have to decide how much of the cake to take to leave some for everyone else.  Then the guests decide they must one-up one another by baking two times as many desserts to give back to the lion as their neighbor.

I liked the illustrations of the book as well.  McElligott included a lot of halved or quartered pages that reinforce the fact that this picturebook revolves around math.  The endpapers also provide a quick reference to the proportions each animal received.  What is more, when the animals divide the lion's cake or count the number of cakes they want to make to share with the lion, the cakes are clearly shown on the page, allowing younger readers to work on counting and middle grade readers to work on fractions and multiplication.

Exercises to Go with the Meal:

Aside from a wonderful math lesson on fractions, this book could also be used with younger readers to reinforce the concept of sharing.

And since the concept of The Lion's Share is set around the idea of a party, a teacher could use this book as a teaching moment to discuss how to be a good guest or host.

To go a realistic route, a teacher could have young students do research and write a few paragraphs about the animals included at the party and their eating habits.  The guests include an ant, beetle, frog, macaw, warthog, tortoise, gorilla, hippo and elephant.

As a side note, a teacher may have to plan carefully when to share this book because a lot of delicious (and animal relevant) desserts are mentioned, including banana crumb cakes, double-chocolate fudge cakes, raspberry layer cakes, etc.  So, a teacher may want to save the book for right before lunch or for during an end of semester math party.

Why did I include that last paragraph?  The answer is simple.  I'm hungry.  I read this book and now I wants me my FOOD.  Arrrr!  Just ignore the fact that I'm typing up this review at noon  and I still haven't head breakfast yet.  I'm sure that had nothing to do with it.  Right?

Why don't I have any cake in this house?  Why?!

(Also, since desserts are so central to the story, some teachers may also want to discuss good nutritional choices)

Dinner Conversation:

"Every year, at the start of spring, the lion invited a small group of animals to join him for a special dinner."

"When dinner was served, the ant was shocked at how the others behaved.  The elephant talked about himself constantly.  The hippo never wiped her mouth."

"The elephant looked at the cake.  "I could eat this in one bite," he thought, "but that might seem greedy."  With a grand gesture, he cut the cake in half and passed the rest to the hippo."

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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