Book Review: This Plus That by Amy Krouse Rosenthal


This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace

This book starts with 1 + 1 but it doesn’t equal 2.  Instead the answer is “us”.  Start with that charming beginning and you then enter a book filled with a variety of equations that surprise, delight and cause laughter.  There are equations for colors that result in a rainbow.  There are equations for city and country.  Very different things add up to equal school vs. birthday, as one might expect.  This is a book that celebrates the little things in life all through equations that reveal the small pieces of what make up the special things. 

My favorite equation in the book is “cozy + smell of pancakes – alarm clock = weekend” which shows just how simple yet profound these little equations can be.  Can’t you smell the pancakes?  A big key to the success of the book is the clever nature of the equations.  They are different and interesting enough to keep the reader enjoying them throughout the book.  Even better, they inspire you to start thinking about your life in equations too.

Corace’s illustrations add to the charm of the book with their bright colors and modern lines.  Her round-faced, merry children add a zest to the book.  Happily, the illustrations have a vintage feel as well, especially when adults are depicted. 

This book inspires thinking in equations, so a great activity might be for children to write their own life equations.  Maybe even about their class or the library?  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by A Reading Year.

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