Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Rabbit Problem

The Rabbit Problem
written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
(Simon and Schuster) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

The Rabbit Problem is a math exercise created by Fibonacci in 1202. In a nutshell, you start off with two rabbits in a field in January and calculate how many rabbits will be in the same field by the end of the year (Click on this link for an informative ThinkQuest called the Fibonacci series). The brilliantly creative Emily Gravett has taken this problem and built a humorous story around it. In January, a lonely female rabbit in Fibonacci's Field sends out an invitation to find a friend. Gravett includes the invitation glued to a January calendar. She finds a friend in cold February so the female rabbit starts knitting a sweater. An advertisement, complete with knitting pattern, for Fibonacci's Wools is glued to the February calendar. March brings two baby rabbits so you will find a baby book attached to the calendar. Inside the baby book are a sonogram photo, a birth certificate, and other baby memorabilia.  Each subsequent calendar includes a funny illustration on the top half and information for solving the problem on the bottom half of the calendar entry. December's calendar brings the biggest surprise of all.

Every time I read an Emily Gravett book, it shows me something I haven't seen done in a picture book. It may be something entirely new, or a different twist on something seen before. As you read this book for the first time, there is anticipation for each new month because you're anxious to see what Emily has cooked up. If I used The Rabbit Problem with a class, I would mention what the problem for the month was before I turned to that calendar. I would ask students to generate solutions for the upcoming problem. You could also read it to older students after they have tried to solve Fibonacci's rabbit problem.

Other reviews of The Rabbit Problem:
Books4YourKids
Kiss The Book

Click below for a You Tube video featuring Emily Gravett creating the book.



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