# 1+1=2 but Mostly it Doesn’t

Have you had a chance to look through the 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions by David LaRochelle? If you (or your child) think that addition is booooring, make sure to get this book. Once you do, get all nice and cozy, but leave plenty of room for your child (and possibly yourself) to jump up and down from excitement. That’s how great this book is. Oh, and by the way, forget about learning how to add two numbers. That’s really not what this book is all about.

It’s a little bit about arithmetic, but mostly it is about iconic quantities and set theory. If you simply must have some counting thrown in for good measure, there’s that too.

A while ago we shared our Iconic Numbers Multiplication game. We also briefly mentioned that playing with iconic numbers helps children develop number sense. If you are interested in the how and why of this, check out this iconic arithmetic primer.

In that same post we also suggested a variation of the game in which you look for examples of iconic addition instead of multiplication. We also mentioned that iconic addition is harder to find than iconic multiplication. Except it’s not if you read 1+1=5! In fact, once we were done reading this book (and, at my son’s request, re-reading it several times), we started seeing iconic additions everywhere!

1+1=7 since both the dining room light fixture (6 bulbs) and the living room table lamp (1 bulb) were on while we read it

1+1=1 since I held the book with one right hand (0 band-aids) and one left hand (1 band-aid)

1+1=3 since Luke Skywalker fights with 1 light saber while General Grievous fights with 2 (ok, this doesn’t occur in the actual Star Wars story, but happens regularly in our family room)

This activity is very addictive and might lead to speaking in puzzles that are a blend of 1+1=5 and “I Spy”:

I spy with my little eye

One plus one now make a five

Ask that around the dinner table and see who’s the first to guess it right (just make sure to place a fork and a knife next to each plate).

Next thing you know, you’re raking your brain trying to come up with rhymes for other numbers. I quickly gave up on rhyming and switched to a simple “I see a one plus one that makes a ten. Do you see what I see?”

The book inspires kids (and adults) to see everyday objects as sets, or collections of other objects. For example, a triangle can be viewed as a set of 3 sides while a rectangle is a set of 4 sides. An octopus is an example of a set of 8 (arms) while a starfish hides a set of 5 (arms) in plain sight. If one set has 8 elements and another set has 5 elements, then when added, the two sets have 13 elements total. Hooray!

So yes, there’s some addition in the book. But again, it’s not central. So don’t worry if your child is not yet ready to add 100 and 10. The illustrations are wonderful and help even very young children enjoy the book.

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###### 3 comments on “1+1=2 but Mostly it Doesn’t”
1. Shelisa says:

We love this book at my house!

2. It delights me to see how people are using my book! Thank you so much! I was visiting a school this past week and saw one of my all-time favorite student-created equations posted in the hall:

1 + 1 = 1