Written & Illustrated by: Matthew McElligott
Published in 2007
Genre: Picture Book, Math
Grade Level: K-3
Summary: Ralph and Flora are out picking beans for their supper. They have twelve beans, and when Flora goes to pick another Ralph tries to stop her. He is too late, and now they have an unlucky number. Back at home they try to divide up the beans, but thirteen can’t be divided by two. They start inviting their friends over, but each time they realize that they still can’t divide the beans evenly. Finally, they just let everyone take the number of beans they want, and it all works out in the end.
I was pleasantly surprised when I read Bean Thirteen. When I first picked it up it didn’t look that interesting, but I wanted to review a math book so I brought it home with me anyways. Then today when I looked at the cover I realized that the author’s name looked familiar. Matthew McElligott also wrote Uncle Frank’s Pit, which I did not really enjoy. Thankfully, he seems to have gotten better since 1998, in both writing and illustrating.
I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. The colors were bright and exciting, and the characters were well drawn and interesting. The text was placed appropriately, and was sometimes included in the illustrations. One example of this was when the dialogue text was placed in the shadows of the characters who were speaking.
This is a great book to introduce or reinforce the idea of division. It would especially be good when students are learning about remainders, since thirteen is such an odd number. While the book could be read and enjoyed by students in kindergarten, this book would be most useful in the 2nd and 3rd grades when students are learning about division concepts.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It’s an excellent book about division, and I would love to use it in my classroom. Even if I end up teaching one of the lower grades this would be a great book to have on hand for students who are gifted in math.
I give Bean Thirteen 5 stars!