The Book Reviews – Website

February 12, 2008

Anno’s Magic Seeds

Filed under: A — thebookreviews @ 10:58 pm
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Anno’s Magic Seeds

Author: Mitsumasa Anno

Page Length: 32

Reading Level: 4th

Genre: Fable

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: When I first picked up this book and looked at the cover, I thought that it was going to be a simple and easy story to follow. However, when I opened the book, I noticed that it was not just a story with words, but one with a sequence of math word problems.

 

The story is about a man named Jack who is given two seeds by a Wizard. One seed he is to bake and eat (which will last him all year) and the other seed he is to bury and watch grow two-fold. This process occurs year after year.

 

Now after the first paragraph, I groaned because I am not a “math person”. Yet, I pressed on, not paying much attention to the illustrations. I thought they were amateur and irrelevant. The further I read, the more I became frustrated with the increasing complexity of sequential math information. When I came to questions such as “how many fruits will grow next?” and “how many seeds did he bury?” (which periodically interrupted the storyline), I found myself scribbling numbers on a piece of paper to keep organized – expecting there to be a “final answer”.  There was no final numerical answer! What was provided at the end were a few philosophical paragraphs about seeds and the fact that more people paid close attention to items they grew in earlier times. As centuries have passed, food has become more plentiful and commerce, trade, greed, and wealth have played a more important role over basic survival. These ideas were not the ending I was anticipating. I was looking for a numerical conclusion. I was disappointed – at first!

 

Then I went back and looked at the illustrations that seemed to show no relevance to me and realized they were giving me the answers all along. I didn’t need my pencil and paper. The answer was right in front of me. After I read the entire story again, I was much more satisfied with the ending. Anno’s Magic Seeds is a simple story that was indeed creatively written.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: I would recommend this book for teachers to teach a mini lesson on sequence of events with some basic math skills inserted. This story is a great way to blend two academic disciplines together. For me it was also a great lesson about not judging a book by its cover, and the importance of paying attention to details.  

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.livingmath.net/LearningIdeas/JustReadIt/AnnosMagicSeeds/tabid/408/Default.aspx

 

http://www.learnnc.org/lessons/Maryjackson2112003344

 

http://www.k-state.edu/smartbooks/Lesson026.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

 

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