Ages 3-5. Lovable monsters provide a fun way for youngsters to learn subtraction in this latest entry in the MathStart series. The lively text and animated artwork are a good match for the young audience. Murphy uses bouncy rhymes and simple sentence structure to describe how the musical chairs game works: "Six fuzzy monsters want a seat--see them rock to a monster beat. Five monster chairs all in a line. Sit in one and you'll be fine!" Meanwhile, Nash's silly pictures show the monsters in action, taking care to clearly depict the correct number of monsters and chairs for counting practise. Youngsters will love to join in the rollicking refrain: "Stomp, stomp, SNORT. Shake shimmy, SHOUT! When the music stops, one monster is OUT!" Faces of the monsters remaining after each round are pictured in a narrow column on the far right side of each double-page spread. Two pages of simple extension activities are also included. Lauren Peterson
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Stuart J. Murphy is a visual learning specialist. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has a strong background in design and art direction. He also has extensive experience in the world of educational publishing. Drawing on all these talents, Stuart J. Murphy brings a unique perspective to the MathStart series. In MathStart books, pictures do more than tell stories; they teach math. Stuart J. Murphy and his wife, Nancy, live in Boston. Scott Nash has illustrated many books for children, including Betsy Who Cried Wolf! by Gail Carson Levine, Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields, Over the Moon by Rachel Vail, and Oh, Tucker! by Steven Kroll. He lives with his wife, Nancy, and their dog, Zephyr, in Peaks Island, Maine.