Victoria and Sam are just sitting down to a plateful of Ma's cookies when the doorbell rings, and two of their friends arrive to share the feast. The doorbell rings again and again and each time the number of cookies per person dwindles until at last there is only one cookie per person and . . . the doorbell rings again! (Luckily, it's Grandma arriving with reinforcements.) Hutchins's quirky illustrations nicely depict her suspenseful tale; the characters have an unusually authentic feeling and convey a strong sense of family. The book is, of course, a mini-lesson in short division. But don't tell any kidsthe arithmetic is so subtly incorporated into the story that they need never know it's there. (48)
K-Gr 3 Victoria and Sam are delighted when Ma bakes a tray of a dozen cookies, even though Ma insists that her cookies aren't as good as Grandma's. They count them and find that each can have six. But the doorbell rings, friends arrive and the cookies must be re-divided. This happens again and again, and the number of cookies on each plate decreases as the visitors' pile of gear in the corner of the kitchen grows larger. When each child's share is down to one, and the doorbell rings again, Sam and Victoria are worriedand then elated, when they discover that it's Grandma with a tray of dozens more cookies. Hutchins' illustrations are more than cheerful. Her exuberant colors flow from page edge to page edge with a lavish generosity born out by Grandma's abundant supply of cookies. The double-page spreads are filled with details for children to find, such as the peripatetic cat, Ma's unending battle with the footprints on her clean kitchen floor and the changing facial expressions of the multiracial children. The math concepts shown make this a beautiful choice for curriculum support in the primary grades, and the evident dismay of the children may lead to further discussion in areas other than math. As refreshing, enjoyable and unpredictable as an unexpected visit from a friend. Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School Library, McKinney, Tex.