A playful approach and wacky illustrations take children on joyful mathematical journey

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 Children’s Literature Finalist:

1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions
David LaRochelle, illustrated by Brenda Sexton
Sterling Publishing
Category Sponsor: Books For Africa


An excerpt from 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions:

These wacky equations don’t add up…or DO THEY?
1 set of triplets + 1 set of twins = 5 babies!
1 duet + 1 quartet = 6 musicians!
1 ant + 1 spider = 14 legs!
1 century + 1 decade = 110 years!

This cheerful picture book presents clever math puzzles with clues for kids. Questions such as “How can 1 + 1 = 3?” are featured on each right-hand page. By flipping the page, readers will discover that 1 unicorn + 1 goat = 3 horns. The appealing illustrations by Brenda Sexton depict the answers so that children can count along. This book encourages creative thinking and engagement among students with a basic understanding of mathematics.


David LaRochelle is a former elementary school math teacher and is the author of award-winning picture books including The End and The Best Pet of All. LaRochelle has written or illustrated over twenty-five books, including picture books, puzzle books, craft books, and a young adult title. He is a winner of a previous Minnesota Book Award for The Best Pet of All.

Brenda Sexton has illustrated eighteen books over the past ten years, and has been honored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Sexton lives in Southern California.


“Bright, geometric illustrations nicely bordered and framed make every page fun to turn, and add a sense of order to the boundless imagination that this book will inspire…. Easily one of the most inventive books of the year.” – Esme Raji Codell, PlanetEsme.com

1 + 1 = 5 is so original it made it easy to select [as a finalist title]. I like how kids as well as adults can do a lot with the idea.” – Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Judge


Reese Witherspoon reads David LaRochelle’s Minnesota Book Award-winning “The Best Pet of All” at the White House in April 2010

Prized Writers: Children’s Tales – Children’s authors David LaRochelle and Alison McGhee discuss their perspectives on writing for children and the challenges that they share, and the books that earned them each a Minnesota Book Award. The 24-minute episode will air on tpt-MN Channel Sun Apr 24th @ 8:30 pm, Mon Apr 25th @ 2:30 am, Mon Apr 25th @ 8:30 am, and Mon Apr 25th @ 2:30 pm. Set your DVR or TiVo – you won’t want to miss this delightful conversation between two of Minnesota’s finest children’s authors!


Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Each year in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Book Awards gala, all Minnesotans are invited to take part in voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. Vote online now through the end of March at TwinCities.com. Please, only one vote per person.

Have you read 1+1=5? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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