Math Picture Book: Place Value


Adler, D. & Miller E. (2016). Place Value. New York. Holiday House.

Plot: Looking for a creative way to teach children about place value? David Adler’s book, Place Value is the book you need. Through a charming troop of monkeys who make the world’s largest banana cupcake, kids learn that number order is important. For example, there is a big difference between 216 and 621 eggs. Place value lets readers know when numbers are in the ones, tens, and hundreds place. Adler is not shy about exposing kids to large numbers.   In fact, he explains that the colossal cupcake has three hundred twenty nine trillion sprinkles!  Furthermore, he introduces children to decimals, money, and number systems and how they are all related to place value.  This book should be on every elementary classroom teacher’s bookshelf.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book for whole class instruction for students in grades 1 to 3.The illustrations are humorous and add to the overall content of the text.  The book could also could be read independently by upper elementary aged students who are having trouble understanding place value particularly when decimals are involved.

Topics: Math- place value, decimals, number systems, money

Quantitative Reading Level: 

Lexile Measure: 610; Grade Level Equivalent: 3-4 Pages: 29

Qualitative Reading Analysis:

Organization/Format: This 29 page book is beautifully illustrated with darling monkeys throughout. The text is standard. Certain words are bolded in black or red to teach a certain concept. Numbers are placed in boxed in charts to reinforce what is written about place value. A recipe for a “Colossal Banana Cupcake” is placed on some of the pages. This helps the reader to know what part of the recipe the monkeys are working on. My only complaint is that this should be on every page so the reader will always know what ingredient the monkeys are using.

Language Demands: There is a lot of math terminology in this book. Digits, place value, decimal point, tenths, number systems and a trillion are some of the examples.

Knowledge Demands: Knowledge of place value would be helpful, but not necessary. The author does a very good job teaching this concept.

Meaning/Purpose: The title of this book says it all. Learning place value can be a tricky topic for many kids. David Adler days a superb of making sense of this otherwise difficult subject.

Content/Subject Area & Standards:

Second Grade ELA (Missouri Learning Standards)

3. Develop and apply skills and strategies to comprehend, analyze and evaluate nonfiction (e.g., narrative, information/explanatory, opinion, persuasive, argumentative) from a variety of cultures and times. A. Read, infer and draw conclusions to: a. identify the main idea of sections of text and distinguish it from the topic b. demonstrate understanding by locating facts to answer and/or ask questions c. use text features to locate specific information d. explain common graphic features to assist in the interpretation of text e. follow written multi-step directions f. describe connections between, and state the order of, the events or ideas.

Second Grade Math(Missouri Learning Standards)

A. Understand place value of three digit numbers. 1. Understand three-digit numbers are composed of hundreds, tens and ones. 2. Understand that 100 can be thought of as 10 tens – called a “hundred”.  4. Read and write numbers to 1000 using number names, base-ten numerals and expanded form.

Curriculum Suggestions: Use Place Value as an introduction to place value.  After reading the book, have kids write and illustrate their own colossal recipes. For example, a child’s recipe may  say that colossal cookies contain 1500 chocolate chips. Then, he or she will make up a chart and place the 1 in the thousands place, the 5 in the hundreds place and so on.

Links to Supporting Content:

Place Value Games

Place Value Lesson Plan

Place Value Printables




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