School Library Journal
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Gr 1-4-Zero believes in himself and thinks he's a superhero. But the other numbers look at him as a nothing and make fun of him. They overshadow and even misidentify him. They show him that in addition, subtraction, and division, they always "win" by being the answer to the math equation, but when Zero finds that he always prevails in multiplication, the other numbers become frightened and flee. He feels guilty for scaring them away and he disappears. The others start to miss him, and then they are captured by Roman numerals dressed as soldiers. Zero hears their calls for help and rescues them with his knowledge of multiplication. The numerals gladly welcome his return and hail him as the hero. Lichtenheld's expressive cartoon illustrations utilize ink, pastel, and colored pencils to give each number a clear identity and personality. The text is clearly written on each page, and the numbers always add their own comments or opinions in dialogue balloons. This tale not only reinforces mathematical principles, but also has a great message about friendship and personal feelings. It can be read aloud, alone, or performed as reader's theater.-Lia Carruthers, Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
What, O what, would we be without the number zero? A big fat nothing, that's what, because Zero truly is as essential as he believes himself to be. Although, as this picture book opens, his proclamations of necessity don't compute, as the other numbers, from One to Nine, mock his lack of addition, subtraction, and multiplication skills and point out that when it comes to division, he's absolutely useless. However, once they hit double digits and are attacked by some zero-less Roman numerals, they realize just how much they need their colleague in this funny and factual exposition of an important mathematical concept. The numbers come to life with personalities and puns all their own (Two misses Zero twice as much as anyone else ; Eight gets confused with a snowman), and the masked and caped protagonist flies in faster than a speeding donut to save the day and fill the nothingness inside him with the joy of arithmetic. With cartoon energy and amusing visual asides, this story does for numbers what Laurie Keller did for states, and that's saying something.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist
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This story about the concept of zero recalls both Lichtenheld's recent E-mergency and Kathryn Otoshi's Zero (2010). Like the former, it features walking, talking written characters (digits, in this case, rather than letters), accompanied by Lichtenheld's snappy, cartoon-style art. And like the latter, it features a Zero who's scorned by his fellow numbers and who worries that he "doesn't count." But Holub's (Wagons Ho!) Zero, who dresses in a superhero cape, has an inner "belief in his wonderfulness" and awaits a chance to prove it. At this point, several involved exchanges about Zero's arithmetic functions establish that Zero extinguishes anything he's multiplied by (Zero times a rock equals Zero), but the discussions weigh the story down and don't seem likely to enlighten math-o-phobes. Past the blackboard digressions, things pick up as Zero rescues the other numbers from an attack by toga-clad Roman numerals, scaring them off with his destructive multiplicative powers ("Run IV your life!" one yells). Despite the energetic artwork and some clever ideas, though, Zero's story doesn't quite add up. Ages 6-10. Agent: Eden Street Literary. Illustrator's agent: Amy Rennert Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.