The jacket of this brand new children’s book claims “This mystery is ¼ pepperoni and ¾ fun!” Marilyn Sadler and Eric Comstock have teamed up to write a book that combines two concepts, one that children love and one they are more likely to hate. Most children love pizza, and many children have math anxiety. This brand new book combines these two subjects to create an interactive mystery appropriate for children ages 4-8.
The artistic style is unique and resembles a collage and animation. This was Eric Comstock’s first children’s book, but a look at his website makes it clear that his modernized Picasso shapes and characters are very appropriate for children’s literature. The typography including speech bubbles, magnifying glasses, detective journals and pie charts invite the reader to interact with the text and the illustrations. The images and text relate to each other very well. The motif of the pie chart, pizza, and shapes reinforce the mathematical concepts Sadler and Comstock integrate into their story.
This integration and introduction of these mathematical concepts are what drew my attention to this new book and are where I believe their work holds the greatest potential. The concept of fractions causes many elementary students anxiety. Charlie Piechart’s story would be a very beneficial resource teachers could use to ease math anxiety in their students, demonstrate the universal applications of mathematics, and draw connections between subjects.
This book would pair nicely with a pepperoni pizza party during which the students could apply their new knowledge of fractions to the slices of yummy pie. ¼ peeperoni, ¼ teaching, and ½ fun! Speaking of which, one of my favorite parts of the visual experience was the illustration of pepperoni on the hard cover and beneath the jacket as if the book were one large pepperoni pizza!
The badge on the cover reading “A Charlie Piechart Mystery” holds the promise for a series of Charlie Piechart stories to come. If this book is a success, I think Comstock and Sadler could definitely extend this idea to different plotlines and introduce different math concepts through children’s literature. I will be sure to be on the lookout for more tasty stories to come!