Usha and the Big Digger. (Storytelling Math). Amitha Jagannath Knight. Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat. 2021. [June] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: Usha loved trucks. She made them bump and roll.
Premise/plot: Everyone sees something different in the stars in this new picture book. Usha, our heroine, sees a BIG DIGGER. Her sister, Aarti, sees the BIG DIPPER. Her cousin, Gloria, sees a Big Kite. Usha, probably the youngest of the three, is upset that others can't see the Big DIGGER when it is so obvious!
Meanwhile, Usha is still struggling to learn to do a cartwheel. Both big sister and cousin can do cartwheels easily. Will Usha master the cartwheel and be able to teach her friends something as well?
My thoughts: Math is not my strong point. (That's an understatement.) When I first read the story, I was like WHERE IS THE MATH? How does this story relate to math? I probably never would have guessed the answer was teaching "rotation, orientation, and perspective." But there you have it! The back matter says, "young children with strong spatial skills can do better in math and science in school." If the two are connected, no wonder math has never been a strength.
I liked the story. I did. I liked how each girl--especially Gloria and Usha--use their imaginations and see the stars differently. I liked seeing the focus on family relationships. I liked how both the older girls helped Usha (eventually) learn to do a cartwheel. I liked how all the pieces of this one eventually came together as a whole.
It does include a list of suggested activities in the back of the book.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers