Too-Small Tyson

by Janay Brown-Wood (Author) Anastasia Williams (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!

Tyson is the youngest-smaller than his four older brothers and always trying to keep up. But when the family's pet gerbil, Swish, goes missing, it's Tyson to the rescue! Tyson uses his knowledge of doubles, triples, and sizes to figure out a clever way to reach his beloved pet. A playful exploration of proportional thinking, featuring an author letter about the ubiquitous nature of math.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education non-profit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

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Kirkus Reviews

Reflects everyday Black boy joy with a mathematical twist.

Review quotes

"Tyson may be the smallest and youngest of five brothers, but his math skills make him a giant at saving the day when the family pet goes missing.

When playing basketball with his older brothers, Tyson struggles to keep up; his steps are smaller, and he quickly realizes that he has to take more of them to compensate. Nicknamed Li'l Man, Tyson enjoys playing with and taking care of the family's pet gerbil, Swish, who is significantly smaller than him. When Swish escapes from his cage, his brothers take the lead on finding the little animal, while Tyson cleans and prepares the cage for his eventual return. When his brothers are unable to locate Swish, Tyson must consider, "If I were Swish, where would I go?" Turns out Swish is under the bed, just out of reach. Tyson uses the tubes from Swish's cage to lure the gerbil out, realizing that if he uses smaller tubes, he'll need more of them to bridge the distance, and he ultimately rescues Swish. Brown-Wood has crafted an accessible and relatable narrative in which knowledge of proportional thinking helps solve a real-world problem. Williams' fun, funky, colorful digital images of a loving Black family of boys complement the story well.

Reflects everyday Black boy joy with a mathematical twist."

—Kirkus Review
Janay Brown-Wood
JaNay Brown-Wood has always had a passion for writing. She loves coming up with new characters and watching them grow. With the publication of Imani's Moon, she has attained her ambition to become a published children's author. She lives in California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Charlesbridge Publishing
Publication date
October 18, 2022
Storytelling Math
BISAC categories
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV009060 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Size & Shape
JUV072000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mathematics
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Creative thinking

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