Book Review: How Many Jelly Beans?

Author: Andrea Menotti
Illustrator: Yancy Labatt
Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 29, 2012)
Source: Book for Review
Audience: Elementary
Nonfiction * Math * Picture Book

Description from Chronicle Books:
How many jelly beans are enough? How many are too many? Aiden and Emma can’t decide. Is 10 enough? How about 1,000? That’s a lot of jelly beans. But eaten over a whole year, it’s only two or three a day. This giant picture book offers kids a fun and easy way to understand large numbers. Starting with 10, each page shows more and more colorful candies, leading up to a giant fold-out surprise—ONE MILLION JELLY BEANS! With bright illustrations and an irresistible extra-large format, How Many Jelly Beans? makes learning about big numbers absolutely scrumptious! 

When this book arrived from the publisher, it was in a huge box.  I assumed it contained several books until I opened it up and realized that this book was larger than the typical picture book and required a larger than normal box.  The brightly colored jelly beans and black & white illustrations drew me in immediately.  I had to read this one.  Since receiving it, I have read it several times and enjoyed it every single time.  I even read this one aloud to a group of teacher/librarians recently who also loved it.  We couldn't stop plotting about ways to use this book with children.

The story kicks off with Emma being asked "how many jelly beans would you like?" She starts off with a conservative 10.  The corresponding illustration shows 10 realistically sized jelly beans in all colors.  Emma's younger brother, Aiden, though isn't as hesitant and asks for 20 jelly beans.  Quickly the number goes up 25, 50, 75, 500, 1000.  The two children eventually try to figure out how many jelly beans per day you would need to eat to consume 1000 in a year.  Even Murphy the dog finds a way to get into the action.  As the number of jelly beans goes up, the size of the jelly beans goes down.  The book ends with a surprise pull-out to represent 1,000,000 jelly beans.

This is a fabulous book.  It has it all - great concept, engaging illustrations, and well executed.  The size of the book may be a challenge on a shelf and the pull out at the end may be a bit difficult for younger children to re-fold (think how hard it is to refold a map properly).  However, this book needs to be used with children.  I can see a child reading it and calling others over to "check this out".  I can also see teachers using it with groups of children to discuss number sense.

Andrea Menotti and Chronicle Books have a winner on their hands.  I am so excited about this book that I am giving away the copy I received (it is in perfect condition - I was careful in looking at it).  And I plan on picking up several copies for the school library and for a personal copy at my local indie bookstore.

Rules for the Giveaway:
1. Though comments are very much appreciated, please do not enter any personal information in the comments section (including your email, website, etc.).  If you do enter personal information, you comment will not be posted.

2.  You must complete the Entry Form to officially enter the contest.

3.  The Contest runs from 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 15, 2012 to 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on March 22, 2012.

4.  You must be 13 or older to participate in this contest.

5.  If you are selected as a winner, I will notify you by e-mail.  If you do not respond within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.

6.  US residents ONLY for this contest.