I searched high and low for a math picture book about measurement for primary grades. Most of the books I found illustrated different types of measurement, but lacked interesting stories, characters or relevance. Measuring Penny was the first picture book I found that used lessons about measurement to tell a realistic story that young kids can relate to (plus, thanks to Loreen Leedy, it has great illustrations). After reading the first page, I knew I had struck gold!
The story starts off with Lisa’s teacher, Mr. Jayson, assigning her class a math homework assignment, “Measuring Homework” (you can hear the collective groans from Lisa and her class as you turn the page). Well, Lisa goes home and starts brainstorming ideas for her measurement assignment. Just as she sits down, her Boston Terrier, Penny, jumps up on her, thus giving her the greatest assignment idea! As the book’s title suggests, Lisa decides to measure Penny for her assignment!
Lisa measures Penny using standard units, such as inches, and nonstandard units, such as dog biscuits. Lisa also measures the height of her jump, weight (how do you weigh a dog without a scale?), and her dog food! Not only that, Lisa also measures the time it takes to take care of Penny and how long they go on walks. Who knew that there were so many ways to measure owning a dog!
Loreen Leedy has written a book that is terrific for any young student who owns a pet. Students who own pets – dogs, cats, hamsters, reptiles, farm animals, etc. – will easily relate to Lisa and may be inspired to go home and measure their own pets! This book could also be useful for students who are interested in owning a future pet, too.
Leedy, Loreen. Measuring Penny. Henry Holt and Company, New York. 1997.