Toads and Tessellations
written by Sharon Morrisette; illustrated by Philomena O’Neill
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Tessellation – A pattern of shapes that covers a surface with no overlaps or gaps.
Enzo wants to be a magician like his father, the Great Mago. Unfortunately, he is not very good at casting spells. Instead of creating a pot of soup for his village, Enzo’s spell brings a pot overflowing with soap. His father keeps encouraging him to study and tells him to find his own kind of magic. Enzo also likes to study math and in particular admires Galileo and Johannes Kepler. It is this love of math that will serve him well when the shoemaker’s little sister pays a visit to his home. She explains that her brother has received an unusual request. He needs to make 12 pairs of shoes out of one piece of leather. Who has made such a request? The castle housekeeper, who is desperately looking for Enzo’s father to work his magic and help the shoemaker produce the shoes for 12 princesses. Since Enzo’s father is out of town, it is up to him to discover a way to create the shoes from the leather. With his spell casting skills being spotty at best, it will be tessellations that save the day for the shoemaker and Enzo.
Toads and Tessellations could serve as a read-aloud introduction for a unit on tessellations. Sprinkled throughout the book are 27 tessellations for readers to find. Enzo can also serve as an example of determination as he never gives up and works hard to find solutions to the problems that face him.
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