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Seaweed Soup
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About the Author

Stuart J. Murphy is a visual learning specialist. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has a strong background in design and art direction. He also has extensive experience in the world of educational publishing. Drawing on all these talents, Stuart J. Murphy brings a unique perspective to the MathStart series. In MathStart books, pictures do more than tell stories; they teach math. Stuart J. Murphy and his wife, Nancy, live in Boston. Frank Remkiewicz illustrated the MathStart Books Rabbit's Pajama Party and Just Enough Carrots. He lives in Sarasota, FL. In His Own Words... "I was the kind of kid who was always reading or drawing. Since I was drawing well before I started school, I always considered art to have seniority over the likes of long division and medieval history. This attitude got me into difficulties more than once. My favorite subjects were horses, cartoons, wildlife, and contraptions that rolled, floated, tooted, or flew. My heroes of the day were illustrators like Bill Peet, Robert Lawson, and Kurt Weiss. They provided me with a screenful of imagery that I'll never forget. "Winter in kindergarten found us all painting Santas at our tables. Mine came out so good that I was asked to do it over again on a huge piece of brown paper that covered the chalkboard. Santa would be bigger than me. I was excused from the regular stuff, given larger brushes, more paint-and sure enough, here came Santa. This was only the beginning. Other teachers, seeing the mural-sized figure, 'borrowed' me to do the same for first- and second-grade classrooms. Flattered but somewhat embarrassed, I took heart, since these gigs were getting me out of a lot of tedious activities like nap time, scissors, yarn, and flash cards. 'All I ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten' may be true. Twenty years later I found myself on Madison Avenue at Norcross Greeting Cards-yes, drawing Santa Claus. "I've always been drawn to the field of humor. Since I'm writing and illustrating my own stories now, I try to make them funny in an outrageous or off-the-wall way. During classroom presentations, I again find myself by the chalkboard in front of the kids. Now we are seeking ways to write and draw those ideas that squeeze their way through the everyday chores of our minds. It's a thrill to watch my own book being read by a group of children, and I like it when they smile. But I love it when they laugh."

Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-Murphy's humorous text indirectly teaches about sets as Turtle sits down to enjoy his thick green, gooey seaweed soup. Each time unsuspecting friends come by, they are invited to lunch and Turtle goes to his shelf to find extra place settings. When he runs out of an item, he makes another set with substitutes. For instance, a jelly jar serves for a cup, a toy shovel becomes a spoon, etc. Children will enjoy the story and its surprising ending while learning about the concept. The bright watercolor cartoons by the artist of "Froggy" fame lend a deft and humorous touch to the proceedings. The last pages have tips for further fun with math, suggestions for activities around the house, plus a short list of other stories with similar concepts. Well worth considering.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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