Skip navigation

Now What? A Math Tale

Author: Robbie H. Harris
Lower Age: 2
Upper Age: 5
Year Added: 2019

Now What? A Math Tale, written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Chris Chatterton, is a short, hardback picture book. The book is published by Candlewick Press and is written for children between the ages of 2 and 5, much like Crash! Boom! A Math Tale (also by Harris and Chatterton). This story is about a tired puppy that wants to build a bed with blocks. While the puppy is building the bed, he notices a problem. There are not enough rectangular blocks to build a bed that fits him! Maybe he can use blocks with different shapes? Adjusting them in a way to fit all the blocks together should make a nice bed for a puppy his size. 


The story’s narrative is a short, cute demonstration of how engineering thinking skills, such as spatial reasoning, mathematical skills, problem solving, analysis, and solution iteration, can be applied to simple problems. Spatial reasoning skills are expressed by how the puppy rearranges the blocks so that he can build a bed. The mathematical skills are the core of this book since, while enjoying the story, the child learns about basic geometry. For example, the puppy explains how a rectangle has 4 corners, 4 sides, and any way the block is turned it stays a rectangle. Then, the puppy solves problems throughout the whole story by coming up with different styles of block to make up a rectangle. For instance, instead of using a rectangle, he used two squares. After solving the problem, he analyzed his solution and realized that he can use other blocks to improve his bed further. He noticed one rectangle and two squares together were too skinny for him, and since he didn’t have any more squares or rectangles, he had to find another way to make the bed wider. 


Now What? A Math Tale has a simple, easy-to-follow story and beautiful drawings that helps explain geometry concepts in a fun way, helping children develop engineering thinking and design skills. 


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Define a problem, Learn about the problem, Idea generation, Test the solution, Analyze a solution, Make improvements to the solution, Recognize patterns, Apply mathematical skills

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: 

A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Creative thinking, Problem Solving, Perseverance, Iterative design, Logical thinking


Overall ratings:

  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews

    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

    • Feedback:

      • "It will entertain the child and at the same time it will introduce him to geometrical shapes."