The Mathical Elephant: “Crash! Boom! A Math Tale” Book Review

What happens when an elephant builds a tower with blocks? Measurement and other mathematical concepts abound until… Crash! Boom! The structure falls apart. Dr. Herbert P. Ginsburg discusses this mathematically rich children’s book and the Mathical Prize that it won.

Herbert P. Ginsburg reviews the 2019 Mathical Award winner Crash! Boom! A Math Tale.

Interested in reading and learning about award-winning math storybooks for children? The Mathical Book Prize recognizes books that inspire readers to see math in the world around them. Selected by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), the annual award honors outstanding fiction and nonfiction books written for all ages, from very young children through teenagers and even adults.

You can learn about all of the Mathical award winners on their website and read some interesting blog posts about Mathical book picks here.

I wrote one of these book reviews, commenting on a delightful story for young children about block building. Crash! Boom! A Math Tale, written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Chris Chatterton, involves many mathematical concepts and an elephant who thinks about them.

Read an excerpt from the blog post below, and view the full post here:

“This saga, as seen through the eyes of a winsome little blue elephant, shows how block building, and a children’s picture book that portrays it, can be rich in mathematical ideas. The elephant is gender-less and name-less, but I am going to call her Ellie, for ease of reference (and grammar), and because we need to see more girls playing with blocks.”

About the Author

Herbert Ginsburg is the Jacob H. Schiff Foundation Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.