cover image A Remainder of One

A Remainder of One

Elinor Pinczes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-69455-8

As they did in One Hundred Hungry Ants, Pinczes and MacKain apply numerical division to a practical problem-and explain it in an entertaining, visually emphatic way. Keeping to the insect theme, Pinczes introduces the ``25th Army Corps,'' a regiment of 25 beetles on parade. Their blue bug queen ``likes things tidy,'' and when the bugs march two by two, she notices that one bug brings up the rear. The unfortunate Joe has to stand aside rather than be a ``remainder''; on the days that follow, Joe tries dividing the squadron into symmetrical rows of three, then four and, finally, five, when he is at last accommodated. Rather than endorse conformity, this rhyming tale focuses on Joe's search for a solution. And lest squadron-like precision trouble readers, each big-eyed ``bug-soldier'' has a unique patterned shell. MacKain even ensures that the same beetle characters-one with a pointy nose, two wearing glasses, etc.-appear in every spread, allowing readers to play spot-the-bug. Rendered in dusty blues and pasture-green with warm yellow, red and pink accents, her linocut-style art vibrates with energy. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)