Cover Image

Sizing Up Winter by L. Flatt



Flatt, Lizann. Sizing Up Winter. Illus. Ashley Barron. Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2013. Print.

Children’s book author, Lizann Flatt, is a freelance editor and writer of children’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Ms Flatt has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Owl, beginning as a teen in 1981, when she won a writing contest and was published in Owl Magazine. Lizann went on to contribute in content development and editorial positions during and following her Arts degree.

Hailing originally from Whitby, Ontario, Toronto-based illustrator, Ashley Barron is passionate about nature, and this comes through in her cut-paper collages.  Ms Barron’s skillful use of simple shapes, choice of colour and texture, and attention to detail, result in visually stunning cut-paper collage works, which are a central feature in Sizing up Winter, as well as the other books in the same series.

Sizing up Winter is the third book in the Math in Nature series, which includes “Counting on Fall”, “Sorting through Spring”. This book pairs rhyming text with colourful nature-inspired artwork to introduce young readers to measurement concepts such as depth, distance, size, area, and time. Highlight boxes on each page ask questions that encourage readers to examine the images closely, encouraging interactive reading.

Many of the pages use rhyming text, but this approach is used inconsistently. Some words and concepts may not be clear to young readers (e.g., mass, capacity) a glossary or call-out boxes on the same page as the introduced terms would have been helpful. The back of the book includes Nature Notes with additional information about the animals featured in the pages of the book, in the order in which the animals appear, rather than in alphabetical order.

The online Teacher’s Guide resource, a pdf that includes support activities to reinforce measurement concepts from each page of the book, is a valuable addition to the book: http://www.owlkidsbooks.com/ResourcesActivities/TeacherGuides.aspx or http://www.owlkidsbooks.com/Portals/0/docs/teachersGuides/SizingUpWinter-TeacherGuides.pdf (pdf document). It’s unfortunate that the book itself does not mention its availability (I only learned about it from a publisher promotional insert in the review copy of the book).

“Shaping up Summer”, a fourth book in the Math in Nature series will be released in Spring 2014.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars

Reviewer: Maria Tan

Maria is a library intern at the University of Alberta’s John W. Scott Health Sciences Library. She enjoys travelling and visiting unique and far-flung libraries. Maria firmly believes that children's literature is an essential component in the fountain of youth.