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By: Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by: Brian Gable
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 2012
A totally rad CATegorical cat teacher points to her easel which claims that a fraction is “A part of a whole number.” A fraction of an orange may be called a section or a portion, but when you look at a part of a cake you might call it a piece. We’ve all seen fractions, but don’t always call them that. If you have a pizza you can cut it any way you like. If you ate the whole thing you’d be a bit selfish, but you could share and cut it in as many pieces as you wanted. “But let’s say that it’s cut in 2 / and you pick up 1 slice If you’ve got 1 piece out of 2, / it’s 1/2 to be precise.” You’ll learn how 1/2 and 2/4 are the very same thing because a CATegorical pizza chef will show you.
CATegorical soccer players, colorful jugglers, and politicians will show you how other fractions work. You’ll even learn a simple way that you can use fractions when you count cat uncles, but better yet, you’ll see many fractions when the cat chefs are baking. Everyone has to use fractions when they bake. Was that 1/2 cup of flour or 2/3? If you don’t know what those numbers mean the cats will show you what a numerator and a denominator are. In the back of the book you’ll see twelve pie charts that you can look at that will show you several different kinds of fractions.
The zany cats are at it again with their madcap way of helping everyone learn math without struggling. The visuals make it easy to understand the concept of fractions. There are the usual pizza examples, but also unusual ones. For example, “Pretend you have 3 uncles and 2 came for a visit. That would mean 2/3 were there. Now that’s not so hard now, is it?” The CATegorical cat illustrations are bright, vibrant, and encourage kids to take a close look at each page. The fractions are colorfully highlighted and easily stand out. This is one of several in the “Math is CATegorical” series. There are additional activities and games on the author’s website.
Quill says: The CATegorical cats introduce a FUN and easy way for young students to learn fractions.