cover image Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

Marilyn Burns, Charles Ed. Silverstein. Scholastic Press, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-94459-5

Burns (The I Hate Mathematics! Book) inventively turns a family reunion into a lesson on perimeters. Readers can hone their division skills as Mr. Comfort bakes ""16 loaves of garlic bread"" and rolls ""96 meatballs"" for the 32 attendees. Meanwhile, Mrs. Comfort perfectly arranges 32 chairs around eight square tables, according to a bird's-eye-view blueprint. Family will be family, however, and as the guests arrive, they elect to sit together, carelessly pushing tables into banquet-style rectangles that won't accommodate all 32 chairs. Tilley's (Riddle-icious) wide-angle illustrations provide a good view of the melee, as visitors rearrange at whim and a harried Mrs. Comfort brandishes her map of the original plan. In an afterword, Burns suggests that adults act as guides to young audiences and use cutout squares to represent the table placement. A wise recommendation if the intention is to teach, but for many the mirthful game of musical chairs may take precedence over perimeters. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)