Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Review: Four is a Little, Four is a lot by Cheska Komissar

New Book Makes Learning Number Sense Fun

You may not have heard the term “number sense,” but if your little one
has ever asked “Is a week a long time?” or “Is one scoop of ice cream
a lot?” or “Is seven old?” you have seen him or her trying to master
it. “Number sense” describes how children come to understand the
essence of numbers and quantities.

In FOUR IS A LITTLE, FOUR IS A LOT (, 4-4-16, $14.00,
hardcover,) author Cheska Komissar introduces number sense and
creative thinking to young readers. With the help of four
illustrators, a diverse cast of four boys and four girls come to life
with charming visuals drawn in four distinct yet complementary styles.
“It was important for us to represent a variety of ages and races, to
reflect real-world ethnic diversity,” says Komissar. In the final
scene—Spoiler alert!—all the characters convene at a birthday party
celebrating the reader: “Four is a lot… when you’re not three

Komissar’s inspiration came from her two sons. First, was Jacob’s
question: “Mama, is four a little or a lot?” He was nearly four, and
Cheska thought he was asking yet again about his upcoming party, so
she answered playfully: “I guess it depends … Four is a little when
it’s four blueberries, but a lot when it’s four watermelons! Why?” It
was only when she heard his answer that she realized he was asking
about his younger brother, Josef’s, recent immunizations: “Four is a
lot of shots.”

At that moment, FOUR IS A LITTLE, FOUR IS A LOT was born. To turn her
story into a book, Cheska teamed with her brother, Ivan, and launched The hardback version of their book about four will be
released on April 4th, 2016, exactly four years after the paperback
was introduced. The team shares sixteen percent of profits, with four
percent going to each of four non-profits. They’ve shared their book
with thousands of children, in every US state, and all around the
world, and they’ve already donated thousands of dollars!


Cheska Komissar holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She
works as a music instructor for children and also teaches art at the
pre-school level. She has worked and written extensively on the
importance of including kids with disabilities in recreation and
education. In addition, she provides tutoring services to kids and
teaches parents play techniques that can help their children learn and
grow while having fun. Cheska lives near Boston with her husband and
two boys (hey, that makes four!).


Melissa Koch lives in the San Francisco Bay area and spends her time
drawing things she finds lurking in her imagination.

Jesse Mangerson is a painter, illustrator, and teacher living and
working in Madison, where he experiences four seasons in a year. This
is his fourth attempt at writing a rich bio for this book.

Say Oh has a degree in Visual Development from the Academy of Art
University and works as a concept artist while splitting time between
her native Korea and her adopted home in San Francisco.

Garrett Taylor is a Sketch Artist at Pixar Animation Studios and lives
in northern California with his wife and their growing brood of

My Thoughts

This was a really cute book. I liked the idea behind the book. Such as four minutes in time-out is a long time and holding four watermelons is a lot, yet only getting to choose four pieces of candy doesn't seem a like a lot.

The book made me think because I'd never stopped to think about how much numbers can mean to a child. Four days until going to Grammy's probably feels like a life time. It got the kids and I talking as we read it, which is a big plus.

The writing was good and caught my attention. It was simple enough that my daughter could read a long with me and not stumble on any words. And if she read alone, she didn't have to keep asking me what words were. I loved the photos in the book. The illustrations were gorgeous and I could stare at some of the pages for a awhile, taking in each detail.

On a lot of of the photos, you could almost build your own story with them. The expressions on the faces of the people always made me smile and we liked to pretend what kind of conversations they characters were having.

This was a really fun book and I'm happy to have it in our collection.