The Best Vacation Ever

The Best Vacation Ever

I have never used a Math Start book, which is a volume from Scholastic that helps to teach mathematical concepts in a fun and engaging way. I had actually never even heard of them until I ran across this one for sale for a mere dime at our library’s bookstore. So I purchased The Best Vacation Ever by Stuart J. Murphy, which is illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, and decided to see if it would be a good fit for my daughter, who often enjoys math activities.

It was actually a very simple book that was easy to use in helping my daughter learn about collecting and charting data. Last summer we did a project in which we interviewed everyone we know to see what his or her favorite flavor of ice cream was (I learned to not include a miscellaneous category and instead give people options—your chart will simply go on forever if you openly ask people, “Which flavor of ice cream is your favorite?” We received some answers that my kiddo just found confusing!), and this could have really come in handy then.

This book deals with a busy family attempting to decide where their best vacation spot might be. Each has his or her own unique schedule, likes and dislikes, and various needs, as families do. The daughter in the family makes a chart depicting each family member’s needs and comes to a quick conclusion—the best vacation spot for her family is in her own backyard! Which is the answer, I am afraid, that most families will come up with this year anyway given the rising costs in fuel…

I really liked this book; its illustrations were simple and round, very friendly for kids to enjoy. The text was even simpler, which was my biggest surprise; in most math skills books that we’ve checked out, the text is heavy and dull, making us reluctant to even finish it in the first place. So such books like this one, I think, would work well for many children.

Once you read the book you could make your own chart—whether it depicts favorite things, vacation spots, ice cream, or whatever is up to you—and help your child interpret it. We didn’t use a ruler in making ours, but that could also be a good activity to help your child learn how to use one and make equal markings.