Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None

Counting by 1's, 2's, 5's and even 10's to 100 proves to be just too confusing for Harry!

Ulmer, Wendy.
Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None.
May 2010.
Sleeping Bear Press.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Harry has just been hired as the newest employee at 4-Color Balloon Factory. On his first day of work, Harry is given a relatively simple job - count out 100 balloons for Mrs. Doopido's birthday party. Harry quickly gets to work, making up a song as he goes, in order to remember the necessary steps,puff, puff, puff, tie it in a knot, add a nice long string, slip it in a slotSounds like it should be a pretty simple job! However, when Harry thinks he's finished, he decides he better count and be sure he really does have 100 balloons blown up. As he begins to count all those balloons, he quickly loses count. His friends at the factory offer ways for him to easily count and see if he has 100, but each time he tries their methods, he still looses count and ends up popping balloons to make sure he doesn't lose his place. What Harry doesn't realize though, is that each time he pops a balloon, his actual number of balloons ready for the party diminishes - until Harry is left with none. When Mr. Huffy, Harry's boss finds out about Harry's dilemma, he's none to happy, but quick to point out the way in which he set it up so that one will easily be able to count out those 100 balloons.

This is definitely a fun story and children will enjoy seeing the character flaw Harry possesses - difficulty keeping track when counting out a large group of objects, the same flaw many children face and can easily become embarrassed about. The book could also act as a wonderful introduction when beginning to teach children about counting (up or down) to 100! This should be a welcome addition to any pre-K through 3nd grade classroom!

Learning/Reading Activities:
  • Collect several groups of 100 objects (buttons, shells, pennies, erasers, pencils, counting bears, pasta, etc.). Work with your child to find the different ways of grouping the objects to quickly count to 100 (counting by 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's and even 25's). Have your child decide which is most efficient - easiest and time-wise.
  • You can also check out the Teacher's Guide provided by Sleeping Bear Press to use in collaboration with Zero, Zilch, Nada: Counting to None. My favorite activity in the guide can be found on page 5, in which readers are asked to solve problems to determine if they result in a total group of 100 and then either labeling them as true or false.
  • This book would also make for an interesting choice when celebrating the 100th day of school. Use this as an opportunity for children to group their collections of 100 in different ways! Come up with a list of all the different possibilities they come up with!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!


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