Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

illus. by Christopher Silas Neal. 40p. Chronicle. Oct. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4521-0714-1. LC 2012039328.
K-Gr 4—This addition to animal counting books mixes in science and mathematical processing to share numbers from behaviors or events occurring over an animal's lifetime. The count begins with the single egg sac a cross spider produces in its lifetime. The count continues with 10 sets of antlers a caribou grows, then 20 fleeces for a llama, and up to 50 before it skips to 100, 200, 550, 900 and 1,000. Each spread highlights a different insect, animal, or plant. The main text is minimal and suitable for storytime while the back is appropriate for older readers, providing background information on each animal and an explanation of how the numbers were derived. Additional pages explain how an average is calculated and the author's love of math. The illustrations are stylized, using high contrast to ease counting and improve legibility, although numbers beyond 200 will require very determined numerists. This book will be useful for units on integrating literature into math instruction.—Carol S. Surges, formerly at Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI
The concepts of counting and quantity are cleverly examined in the context of animal lives. Schaefer presents the number of times an animal "performs one behavior or grows one feature" in its lifetime, starting with the single egg sac spun by a spider, moving through double-digit features such as the twenty fleeces produced by an alpaca, and up to the thousand babies carried by a male seahorse. Bold, beautifully composed, and somewhat retro (reminiscent of his art in Over and Under the Snow, rev. 1/12), Neal's block print - like mixed-media illustrations of the eleven animals featured contain the actual number of items on each double-page spread--industrious readers can count every one of the 550 sharply defined alligator eggs or the nine hundred flowers a swallowtail visits. Significant supplemental information can be found after the main text, including scientific names and additional numerical facts about each animal, a discussion of the concept of average, and word problems to think about the mathematics behind calculating some of these numbers. danielle j. ford

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