One Perfect Page


I have read a lot of books in the last year. There have been some lovely novels, a bit of nonfiction, parts of a textbook about the mathematics of patterns.

Through it all, one page sticks out vividly in my memory, from Grace Lin’s The Last Marshmallow.

hand illustrated page as described, with text "One marshmallow for me. One marshmallow for mei."

Simple. Direct. Clear.

About halfway into this delightful board book, we see the problem that has been developing for several pages as these two beautiful children shed their outside, winter clothes and sit down to warm up with cups of cocoa. There is one last marshmallow, and there are two children who would each like to have it.

I love everything about these board books, and about the Storytelling Math series more generallly. But this one page expresses so much about the work that I strive to do. Children are in a situation that math can help them to clarify and resolve. No adult is hovering to pose or solve that problem for them. They use their own minds and bodies to solve it. We as readers can discuss it as they do, and we can consider alternate solutions.

Strongly recommended if you’ve got a 4-and-under in your world.

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