written by David A. Adler; illustrated by Edward Miller
2016 (Holiday House)
Source: Mebane Public Library
We write numbers with digits. There are ten digits in our number system.
The monkeys at the Banana Cafe have a massive challenge. Using recipe 5,432, they have to create a colossal banana cupcake. Colossal, as in needing 2,426,782 bananas. When you're making a dessert the size of Mount Rushmore, you will need a good sense of place value. Digits have values depending on where they are placed. 4,5, and 6 can be 456 or 646. That makes a big difference. The monkeys know that digits are grouped in threes with commas separating those groupings. This allows them to have groupings of hundreds, thousands, and millions. Going to pay for all of the ingredients that go into a gargantuan pastry? You will need to know decimals, but with the help of the place value charts that are on each spread, the intrepid simians are top bananas.
If you want to help students learn, one effective strategy is to make comparisons. By comparing place value to the arrangement of letters in a word (cafe as opposed to face), David Adler will make these concepts stick. The humorous illustrations will also help the knowledge go in deeper. I can see placing (I see what I did there.) these charts under a document camera and modeling how to write large numbers. I think challenging students to find a replacement for the monkeys (elephants in a peanut factory?) would be a fun activity as well. Place value is a huge deal in primary classrooms, so don't monkey around (couldn't help it) and find a copy of Place Value.