Ann McCallum is a math teacher and the author of RABBITS, RABBITS EVERYWHERE and EAT YOUR MATH HOMEWORK. She lives in Kensington, Maryland.
Gr 3-5-This fractured fairy tale tries to squeeze in a math lesson about ratios, but it isn't successful. Jack wakes up to discover a beanstalk outside his window, climbs up, and befriends a lonely giant boy at the top. The two go off to play but quickly realize that the difference in their size is going to make most games difficult. Trying to play hoop ball, for example, proves to be impossible until Jack realizes that "I need a hoop that's as high for me as your hoop is for you." A few measurements later, the boys realize that Ray's hoop is three times his height, so they figure out how tall Jack's should be, and fashion one for him. Once home, Jack decides to make a checker set for Ray and figures out what size to make it. The story ends with the two friends eating lunch outside with Jack's mother, who wishes for a word to describe "the relationship between the size of two things," since the boys dealt with their differences so wonderfully. Jack decides that they should call it a "Ray show", since Ray showed Jack that their things were the perfect size for each of them. The author sums the story up by explaining that today it is spelled ratio. The illustrations are colorful but flat. Teachers wishing to jazz up their lesson plans can utilize the original story and plug in their own numbers for students to create ratios, or they can introduce the topic with David M. Schwartz's If You Hopped Like a Frog (Scholastic, 1999).-Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.