Educator Jacqueline Gold helps children learn the foundations of math literacy in her book Codey Learns to Add Numbers, an illustrated story and workbook that follows a boy’s quest to save enough money to buy a new toy truck.
Gold mixes the story and math together nicely, as Codey, needing five coins to buy the truck, is offered the chance to earn a coin each day for tidying his toys. Every night, he places the coin in a jar and counts the total, with the relevant equation posted and explained in the book. Readers get to know Codey through brief accounts of events at school, activities at home, and dialogue with teachers, friends, and family members. Ten pages at the end of the book offer additional workbook space.
This book is geared toward very young children, as the math doesn’t go beyond adding one coin at a time, maxing out at 4+ 1 in the story, and 8+1 in the additional workbook pages.
The book’s premise offers an effective stage from which to explain simple addition, but unfortunately, the illustrations don’t measure up. The front cover image, taken from an interior page, features a washed-out, childlike drawing executed in colored pencils. Other interior illustrations are equally rough and seem even stranger when compared to the two interior photos of the real Codey, whose dark brown skin is inexplicably transformed to a sallow yellow-orange in the drawings depicting his semi-fictional counterpart.
The writing is satisfactory, except for the misspelling of the word “peeked” (Gold writes: “As she peaked into his room” and “the sun peaking through his blinds.”) Overall, Codey Learns to Add Numbers is effective, but it could have been better with a little closer attention to the details.
Also available as an ebook.