These fun stories aren’t just great for teaching addition and subtraction, but also help kids practice these essential math skills.
Picture Books About Addition & Subtraction
One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl & Tom Lichtenheld
HAHA — this is the silliest “counting” picture book you’ll read! It’s counting, subtracting, and patterns silliness that your kids will adore.
Pigeon Math by Asia Citro, illustrated by Richard Watson
Hilarious! Addition and subtraction never felt so fun!! An increasingly exasperated narrator is TRYING to tell the story about ten pigeons but it’s not going well. Visual support, goofy humor, and plenty of kid-appeal make this a 100% must-own, must-read STEM picture book.
The Wing Wing Brothers’ Math Spectacular! by Ethan Long
In this book, we meet the performing Wing Wing brothers: Willy, Woody, Walter, Wendell, and Wilmer. Cartoon illustrations depict their antics in three acts: Act 1: Comparing Amounts, Act 2: Addition and Subtraction, and Act 3: More Addition and Subtraction. A fun bedtime read aloud math-themed picture book!
The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
This entertaining picture book incorporates math with the mystery genre. Detective Duck needs to use his deductive reasoning to figure out which of the twelve animal bakers stole the cake from the cake contest. He follows the clues, subtracting each suspect as he rules them out. Until only one animal is left! Can you use your thinking skills to figure out the culprit before Detective Duck?
Math-terpieces by Greg Tang
I love Math-terpieces! Tang uses famous artwork to set the stage for addition and subtraction practice. For example in a Degas painting of dancers, the text is: “A ballerina strikes a pose, another rests her weary toes. Edgar Degas likes to portray the varied scenes of a ballet. Can you make 7 with these shoes? Three clever ways earn rave reviews.” Don’t you think the combination of art and math is clever?
Sir Cumference and the Roundabout Battle A Math Adventure by Cindy Neuschwander, illustrated by Wayne Geehan
Sir Cumference’s son, Round 2, counts and adds everything. Round 2 counts, rounds, and adds. Sometimes he counts the weapons, sometimes soldiers. Sometimes he uses a number line aka. a measuring tape. Round 2 uses rounding to ten in order to make addition easier. Doing so helps his father win the battle against Sir Wantsalot. This is a fun addition (get it?!) to the Sir Cumference picture book series.
The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang
Like Tang’s other books, this book contains brightly colored illustrations with jaunty rhymes that ask kids to solve a math problem such as “How many grapes are on the vine?”
Math for All Seasons by Greg Tang, illustrated by Harry Briggs
The Picnic Problem by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Magali Mansilla
Max and Suzy get a letter from Miss Add-It-Up that sends them to the park to solve a math-related treasure hunt of clues. For example, “Which kite has the longest tail? Ignore the strings, so you don’t fail.” Max and Suzy compare tails of the differently shaped kites. The circle kite ends up being the winner and having their next clue. There’s a ton of fun math problems that kids can solve with the main characters as you read the story.
10 Gulab Jamuns: Counting with an Indian Sweet Treat by Sandhya Acharya, illustrated by Vanessa Alexandre
A loving family shares a favorite cultural sweet treat and practices counting and subtracting in this beautifully written, Indian-flavored math story! Mama makes 10 gulab jamuns for guests. But, one child eats three. Now there are only 7 for the guests. And another child eats 3 more. Now there are only 4 left. Mamma wonders how she will have time to make more treats for her guests. The kids will help her make them! “That afternoon, Idu and Adu didn’t go to the backyard to play. They helped Mamma and Daddy make 10 more gulab jamuns instead.”
The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley, illustrated by Billy Aronson
This is a Peg and Cat picture book story their perfect picnic that goes totally crazy with runaway chickens. Peg is “totally freaking out” and needs to get the one hundred chickens back in the coop. Peg and Cat must solve the chicken problem fast. I love the illustrations, the problem-solving characters, and the silly story.
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