Friday, February 22, 2019

Snowman - Cold = Puddle

In some places spring is already poking through. Not where I live - that won't happen for another month. Maybe more, given the unpredictable nature of this winter ... But I couldn't wait for things to totally thaw to share this book, published just a couple weeks ago.

Snowman - Cold = Puddle
By Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Micha Archer
32 pages; ages 4-8
Charlesbridge, 2019

themes: spring, math, nature

science + poetry = surprise!

"Science is why and how a flower grows," writes Laura Purdie Salas. "Poetry is looking at that flower and seeing a firework." This book may look like math, but it is poetry in disguise. Laura takes us on a seasonal deep dive, exploring spring through a series of equations.

snowman - cold = puddle
breeze + kite = ballet
1 dandelion X 1 breath = 100 parachutes

Smaller text includes more information about these seasonal observations, along with context. For example, dandelions depend on wind to spread their seeds. And some of those seeds can travel hundreds of miles before settling down.

What I like love about this book: What a fun way to explore a season! And turning math into poetry is definitely a plus. I like that she includes a variety of math functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication) and divides her poem into three acts: early, mid-, and late spring. I like that there are two levels of reading this book, the math-poetry and the nature notes.

I love the artwork! In her notes at the back of the book, Micha Archer says that for her spring = color. She used collage to create the illustrations, layering tissue papers, using crayon-rubbing resists with watercolor washes, carving her own stamps, then snipping, slicing, and gluing down the papers. She used oil paints to add the children's faces.

But what I really, really, really love about this book is the equation she has left readers to solve on the very last page.
you + the world = ?

Beyond the Book:

Look for signs of spring in your neighborhood. When does it start? and how do you know? My calendar says spring begins March 20 (despite groundhog predictions).

Make some spring math-poetry of your own. Turn some of your observations into equations. Remember, early spring, mid-spring, late spring... it takes awhile for spring to arrive. Here's my early spring math-poem (from last year): ice - cold = mud.

Spring = color. That's what Micha says. Gather (or make) papers in the spring colors you see and create your own collage art.

Make a map of spring emerging. For a different way to experience the season, try mapping the changes. Here's one way - or come up with your own way to map the seasonal changes.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this one. It's in my TBR pile. Cheers!

  2. This looks like a really sweet book. I will check it out. Thanks for the post.

  3. Thank you, Sue! I'm so happy that you found the book so engaging, and I love your extension ideas! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Wow...this seems like a really unique book. Will have to read it.

  5. Sounds like a creative and fun book. I need to check it out.