Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank

Children - Educational
28 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank is an educational picture book for children written by Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves and illustrated by Toby Mikle. Addition and subtraction are abstract concepts that can be very difficult for young children to master. They frequently get nervous and feel overwhelmed by the equations and rules for even these simple arithmetical procedures. Matsen-Nieves and her iconic counting hippo, Hairy Hank, introduce addition and subtraction in a non-threatening and familiar way that makes counting a fun activity rather than a learning experience. Parents and caregivers will automatically know that there is a great deal of learning going on along with the rhyming and playing with jacks, but young readers will get so wrapped up in the jacks, the hippo and the rhythms, that they'll not even notice that they're mastering some difficult concepts for children their age. Toby Mikle's illustrations are brightly colored and cheerful, and they make it virtually impossible to resist following those dancing jacks with your own eyes and beginning to count them for yourself.

Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves's educational picture book for children, Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank, makes learning arithmetic fun, and that's a very good thing. While some kids automatically take to numbers and arithmetic, it can seem challenging and completely incomprehensible to others. Young readers will get so captivated by Hank and his dancing jacks, that they'll quickly find that the apprehension and fear they’ve associated with learning arithmetic is not really such a big deal after all. Counting, adding and subtracting becomes simply a way of playing along with the characters in the story rather than the mastery of abstract concepts. I've always enjoyed the puzzles and magic inherent in arithmetic and math and am one of those rare beings who actually loves algebra, so I've often found myself tutoring kids and adults who have math problems. I was very curious to see how Matsen-Nieves would approach these numbers concepts and was very impressed by her approach. The rhythm and energy of her lyrics work beautifully to disarm those number fears, and Mikle's illustrations are perfect accompaniments. Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank is highly recommended.

Barbara Fanson

What a fun way to learn to count! The musical rhyming words and the dancing ball and jacks create a winning combination to help children learn to count. Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank by Cheryl Matsen-Nieves is a colorful, fun book to teach children how to count, add, and subtract. The main character, Hairy Hank, is a hippo, who teaches us how to count by playing with a ball and jacks. And if you don’t already have a ball and jacks, you will want to buy a set right after reading this book. Hairy Hank shows us a fun way to add using the jacks. Author Cheryl Matsen-Nieves makes addition and subtraction an easy game to master. Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank is an educational book ideal for ages 3 to 6.

The book combines toys with imagination to help children add and subtract numbers. The author uses rhyming words to create a song that children will enjoy hearing—and playing along with—more than once. The cute, but simple illustrations by Toby Mikle add so much to the story. He adds imagination to the game such as the dog standing on his two back paws with his other two paws high in the air. His drawings of mom and child with their hands up, cheering, help make this story exciting and add encouragement to other children who may be playing along. Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank has fun, bright colors and an excellent story (game) that children will want to read and play many times.

Jessyca Garcia

My daughter and I really liked Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank by Cheryl A Matsen-Nieves. In the book Hairy Hank teaches children to add and subtract by playing jacks. The book is catchy and fun to read. This is a must-read for any child learning beginner’s math.

I have been struggling to teach my 5-year-old daughter to understand how to add and subtract. So when I saw this book, I grabbed it right away. I was not disappointed! Add & Subtract With Hairy Hank helped my daughter to start to grasp the concept of addition and subtraction. I loved that Matsen-Nieves made the story rhyme. This helped my daughter to pay attention and even want to participate in reading with me. By the end of the book, she was happily reading it out loud by herself. She had never heard of the game jacks before, so I had to explain to her what it was. At first I did not like the character of Hairy Hank. I just thought his name was weird. However, I really liked that Matsen-Nieves showed the actual math problems in the story. The illustrations also show the math problems. The kids are able to count the different number of jacks on each page. This is a great help for visual learners.

I am definitely keeping this book in my collection and will be recommending it to my daughter’s teacher. I plan on reading it over and over with my child. I hope that Matsen-Nieves continues to write more books like this because there is undeniably a need for them.

Rosie Malezer

Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank is a children’s book, written in rhyme by Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves and illustrated by Toby Mikle. Written very much in Dr. Seuss's style, Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank (a hairy hippo) teaches how easy it is to learn how to count. With the simple use of jumping jacks, Hairy Hank not only teaches how to count to ten, but also how to add and subtract, utilizing the jumping jacks as teaching tools. Read along with your young child, teaching them how easy it can be.

The simplicity and style of Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves’s educational book for children, accompanied by the clever illustrations of Toby Mikle are a sheer delight. Written in an easy-to-read format, in this story any child will not only be entertained by Hairy Hank’s teaching method, but will cheer along with Hairy Hank as they answer his questions in turn. The repetition of the phrasing used enables even the youngest of budding mathematicians to learn how to count forwards and backwards, reaching into the memory with rhyme. After a while, I was able to find a rhythm to the rhyme, making each sentence much easier to say, as it seemed to effortlessly flow off my tongue. If you do not have jumping jacks handy, improvisation can be made with any small item, such as spoons. I quite enjoyed reading Add & Subtract with Hairy Hank, and recommend it to be read to all young children (or to be read by early readers, with their parents), enabling learning and fun to go hand in hand.