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Cardinal Numbers:
An Ohio Counting Book

Author Marcia Schonberg asked illustrator Bruce Langton to hide a buckeye within the paintings he created for her Cardinal Numbers: an Ohio Counting Book. He complied to her request, adding one or more Buckeyes on most pages. Readers love looking for them, but several pages leave readers wondering where that mysterious buckeye is hidden. In truth, there isn’t one on every page.

What readers will discover on each page are fun facts about Ohio? why it’s Number 1 to some people and how large other numbers need to be to tell Ohio’s story. Young readers can learn to count and recognize numbers, but older ones will learn sidebars full of interesting information.

Look on the Number 11 page to count eleven. There’s a poem on every page. On this page it reads:

11 hikers in the woods
Walking one by one.
Explore the Buckeye Trail-
Wouldn’t that be fun?

From the simple phrases, readers are introduced to Ohio’s most famous hiking trail. In the sidebar they can read all about it:

The Buckeye Trail is the longest hiking trail in Ohio. It leads hikers 1,250 miles around the perimeter of the state. Portions of the trail connect to existing roads while other parts follow the towpath of the Ohio-Erie Canal and old railroad beds. You will see forests, parks and cities if you hike the entire trail. The route is marked by light blue rectangles about 2 x 6 inches in size. These blue blazes guide you along the trail.

There are many other paths to hike in Ohio, too. Find one that winds around lakes, streams, or old canal locks, or hike a trail that includes hills and valleys. You may even know a trail that follows city streets. Where is your favorite hiking spot?

After the author guides readers through Ohio’s numbers, she includes a special section of unique math problems. They are all related to Ohio, and in addition to stating questions in rhyme, she provides additional sidebar information about these new topics. Each question reflects a creative and open-ended approach to mathematics and the answers encourage discussion, divergent thinking, and dialogue among children and between children and adults. Her concept has led to exciting math fairs and other special events during her many school visits.

Here’s a sample:

Mmm. Mom’s making apple crisp.
Count the apples she will need.
Is the pan round or square?
How many kids will she feed?

In the explanatory information, readers learn that Ohio ranks Number 1 in the variety of apples grown in the United States. Some well-known Ohio apples are Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathon, Melrose, and Stayman. Specialty varieties, like Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith are increasing in popularity, but are not as plentiful as others.