Despite the relentless efforts of teachers, policy makers and passionate advocates of mathematics over many years, numeracy is still a skill that’s often rather bizarrely underrated by people in this country. Claiming ‘not to understand sums’ as an adult doesn’t carry nearly the same stigma as being unable to read well or write effectively; and there is a definite tendency towards a lack of affection in the way we view numbers, as opposed to our love of the wonderful things that words can do. It’s good news, then, that in this, her first Charlie and Lola book for five years, the gloriously talented Lauren Child has let her beloved sibling creations loose on the language of counting and calculations – allowing them to explore, experiment and play with their usual curiosity and creativity.
If it’s possible to have a differentiated picture book, then that is what this is – with Charlie deftly adding, subtracting and dividing on the same pages where his little sister is wondering whether a thousand is ‘the most’; it’s numeracy at its most joyful and positive, and a brilliant way to get young minds excited about maths.
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