Tana Hoban and Ann Morris are both gifted children’s book authors who combine minimal text with wonderful photos that beg to be pored over again and again. Many of them are organized around ideas that call for mathematizing. For example, just the cover of Hoban’s Shapes, Shapes, Shapes or Cones, Cylinders, and Spheres will make it easy to engage children in wondering what regular geometric shapes they can spy in the classroom or on a walk around the school. Be sure the children record their findings by drawing or making tally marks so that they have data to analyze when they get back to the classroom. As you guide a discussion into asking what shape seems to be the most common, be sure to include the all-important follow-up: Why? Why do you think that is so? Why do you think you found many more rectangles than triangles?
In the same way, Ann Morris’s Shoes, Shoes, Shoes and Bread, Bread, Bread can jumpstart a survey of the different kinds of shoes the children are wearing or the kind of bread they like, as well as encourage some serious thinking about good ways to categorize them. Make sure you have them show the results. Once again, the best thinking comes as the children and teacher converse together about what questions they have and how they see the data making sense.