The Bark Park

Kane. Jul. 2022. 32p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781635925425.
Gr 1-2–When an author pairs a story of can-do kindness with a math problem, this book is the winning result. The question that launches the story is, what can youngsters do to help their elderly neighbor? Coco and her friends Nolan and Sophie love to take their dogs to the dog park. To their dismay, they learn that their elderly neighbor, Mr. Romero, is unable to stand for long periods and the dog park has no bench. When they discover that a bench costs $100, they decide to raise the money to help their 80-year-old friend. As their plan to wash local dogs comes together, unexpected problems pop up; will they be able to meet their goal? Readers may relate to the problem that Coco and her friends are facing, which is how young people can raise money. The tale centers around this issue with math skills as its focus. A story of friendship and community, this title may resonate with budding entrepreneurs. Colorful illustrations support the text and enliven the plot. “Activities That Matter” gives ideas for more learning centered on math and literacy; the end page also gives a quick goal comparison as a review. The title’s main purpose is to reinforce math skills in conjunction with literacy. The simple story and characters put math into an everyday situation to which readers can relate—helping a friend.
VERDICT Recommended for readers of the “Math Matters’’ series or other titles that marry mathematics and fiction to reinforce math skills. Try pairing with Demi’s One Grain of Rice or Elinor J. Pinczes’s One Hundred Hungry Ants to expand the math lesson.

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