TITLE: ZERO THE HERO

AUTHOR: Joan Holub

ILLUSTRATOR: Ton Lichtenheld

PUBLICATION INFO: Henry Holt / Christy Ottaviano Books, February 2012

ISBN: 978-0805093841

SOURCE: Library

INTENDED AUDIENCE: 6 and up, but my four-year-old things this is hilarious

GENRE: picture book (fiction)

OPENING and SYNOPSIS: “Unlike most numbers, Zero believed himself to be a hero. He just needed a chance to prove it.”

From the publisher: “*Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.* That’s what all the other numbers think of Zero. He doesn’t add anything in addition. He’s of no use in division. And don’t even ask what he does in multiplication. (Hint: *Poof!*) But Zero knows he’s worth a lot, and when the other numbers get into trouble, he swoops in to prove that his talents are innumerable.”

THEMES/TOPICS: math, counting

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Rarely do my boys find a book to be laugh-out-loud funny. This book has a lot going for it — a caped superhero, a fight with the Roman (numerals), comic-book comedy and lots of puns. We can’t read this at naptime or bedtime without having a 10-minute conversation about math. In fact, Finley (age 4) walked out of his bedroom after I put him to bed last night to let me know that 1+0 = 1. I am buying this book.

If you need more convincing, check out the book trailer.

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

- The publisher has a teacher’s guide on its Web site.
- BainPop has this helpful lesson on addition and subtraction, which includes zero’s special properties.
- The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics uses macaroni to explore math concepts including our hero, Zero.

Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

I have to get this! Sounds so clever!

It is adorable. The boys’ favorite part is when the Roman numerals mistake him for a chariot wheel or cheerio. Too funny.

Kirsten, I love this book. I read everything Tom Lictenheld illustrates. And, the story is terrific for kids. Your boys certainly were creative. Love the book trailer too! Think it should be in every kid’s library. Great review!

Few books receive such a rousing endorsement, but this one is a keeper. As I read it, I did wonder whether Joan Holub wrote the dialog among the numbers that appeared in the illustrations or whether that was a Lichtenheld invention. That part really made the book.

Agree. I imagine their was some collaboration. He was working on this book when I interviewed him last year.

This book sounds SO FUN! And kids will learn about math without realizing – pretty sneaky 🙂 I love the whole concept of a caped number and a fight with the Roman numerals 🙂 Thanks for adding this entertaining and secretly educational book to our list 🙂

I may not sneak vegetables in my kids’ food, but I will sneak some learning into their picture books. Hee hee.

Masked marvel of mathematic ‘musement!

Oh, you are so clever. 🙂

I see it as an affliction of my alliteration system, burp!

Sounds like a must have book for a kindergarten classroom. Zero the hero visits us every 10th school day, but only at night when the classroom is empty. Forgetful fellow – he always leaves his cape behind as well as a math guessing game and a zero treat (chewy life savers).

Sandi, what wonderful activity ideas for a classroom. Your students will love this book. My older son is in kinder and he adores it.

Cute! What a fun book.

It is fun. It’s a donut, it’s a chariot wheel, it’s Zero the Hero.

This looks like a great book. Superhero + math concepts = A win!

I just love books that make learning fun. This one definitely is a winner!

What a cute counting book! I love that humor is a big part of it. I could never see the humor in Math…it scared me! I will have to read this one for sure!

This book definitely makes math fun. Only Roman numerals are scary. 🙂

This book sounds wonderful! I wish there had been fun books about math when I was a kid!

Cute! I like the Synopsis! 🙂 I like comic book style books too!