At Rabbit's pajama party everyone is eating pizza, telling scary stories, and curling up in their sleeping bags. And what these friends do "first, next," and "last" demonstrates the math concepts of sequencing -- the logical order of events.
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Stuart J. Murphy is a visual learning specialist. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has a strong background in design and art direction. He also has extensive experience in the world of educational publishing. Drawing on all these talents, Stuart J. Murphy brings a unique perspective to the MathStart series. In MathStart books, pictures do more than tell stories; they teach math.
Stuart J. Murphy and his wife, Nancy, live in Boston.
"I was the kind of kid who was always reading or drawing. Since I was drawing well before I started school, I always considered art to have seniority over the likes of long division and medieval history. This attitude got me into difficulties more than once. My favorite subjects were horses, cartoons, wildlife, and contraptions that rolled, floated, tooted, or flew. My heroes of the day were illustrators like Bill Peet, Robert Lawson, and Kurt Weiss. They provided me with a screenful of imagery that I'll never forget.
"Winter in kindergarten found us all painting Santas at our tables. Mine came out so good that I was asked to do it over again on a huge piece of brown paper that covered the chalkboard. Santa would be bigger than me. I was excused from the regular stuff, given larger brushes, more paint-and sure enough, here came Santa. This was only the beginning. Other teachers, seeing the mural-sized figure, 'borrowed' me to do the same for first- and second-grade classrooms. Flattered but somewhat embarrassed, I took heart, since these gigs were getting me out of a lot of tedious activities like nap time, scissors, yarn, and flash cards. 'All I ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten' may be true. Twenty years later I found myself on Madison Avenue at Norcross Greeting Cards-yes, drawing Santa Claus.
"I've always been drawn to the field of humor. Since I'm writing and illustrating my own stories now, I try to make them funny in an outrageous or off-the-wall way. During classroom presentations, I again find myself by the chalkboard in front of the kids. Now we are seeking ways to write and draw those ideas that squeeze their way through the everyday chores of our minds. It's a thrill to watch my own book being read by a group of children, and I like it when they smile. But I love it when they laugh."From Kirkus Reviews:
PLB 0-06-027617-7 paper 0-06-446722-8 New to the MathStart series is this quick take on sequencing, although almost any story with a beginning, middle, and end would serve as well. A sleepover is the premise; Rabbit invites his friends Mouse, Giraffe, and Elephant to the party. The action is described in a few short rhyming sentences that outline the order of events. Friends are invited inside, a pizza dinner is gobbled up, juice follows dinner, and ice cream sundaes for dessert conclude the meal. At bedtime, the four friends pull on their pajamas and zip themselves into sleeping bags while Rabbit's mother takes a picture. Hand shadows and scary stories come with lights out, until Mouse is heard snoring peacefully. Just when it appears that it may be a stretch to locate the math involved, a final page asks, ``What Happened at Rabbit's Pajama Party?'' to prompt children to think about what happened first, next, and last. Although Remkiewicz wiggles out of showing ``hot fudge'' by present a bottle of chocolate syrup instead, no one will question the accuracy of his animals' zeal; they are all smiles, delightfully displaying silly expressions. Characteristically, the final spread offers tips and suggestions for adults who may want to extend the sequencing concept with follow-up activities. (Picture book. 2-4) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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