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A Place for Zero


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Zero is lonely in Digitaria. He can't play Addemup with the other numbers, because he has nothing to add. What's a digit to do? Join Zero as he goes on a journey to discover his place.


Gr 2-3-This story about sad Zero, who "felt he had no place among the other digits," falls between the cracks in terms of finding an audience. In his search for meaning, he meets Count Infinity, King Multiplus, and Queen Addeleine. The lively, colorful cartoons of legged numbers would appeal to preschoolers or kindergartners, but the vocabulary, concepts, and puns ("Absolute nine-sense. It's two much!") are beyond their understanding. There are also a few confusing lessons, such as Zero's explanation that "When I stand in this place, next to my friend 1, as a zero I can represent zero 1s. But he now represents 9 + 1." Given the art, it's unfortunate that the author didn't stick with beginner-level math instead of proceeding to tackle multiplication and place values. As it stands, most readers will either be confused or feel patronized. Stick with Alexandra Wright's Alice in Pastaland (1997) or Cindy Neuschwander's "Sir Cumference" series (both Charlesbridge) for your math-story needs.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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