The Great Divide

Horn Book Guide - October 2012

This book is a division exercise enlivened with obscure names for collections of animals (e.g., a crash of rhinos). Each double-page spread features one animal grouping, a quatrain that poses the question ("How many in each leap [of frogs]?"), and an equation ("14w2+?"). Colorful illustrations with saturated backgrounds suggest the answer, and four pages of interactive learning activities are appended.

School Library Journal - April 2012

K-Gr 5–On each spread of this clever picture book, a rhyming verse introduces the collective noun for a particular type of animal and then asks readers to determine how many creatures would be in each “bale,” “mob,” etc., if the group were divided into smaller numbers. For example: “Sixteen shiny river toads,/in a sunny spot,/gather ’round four puddles./How many in each knot?” Hunter’s colorful illustrations offer clues to the groupings, for the most part, though on a few pages the divisions are not clear enough to help young readers understand the concept. The book covers a wide variety of animals, from a charm of hummingbirds to a crash of rhinos. Back matter offers more activities relating to multiplication, division, and collective nouns, along with a mapping activity that would be highly engaging if the pictures of the animals on the map, needed to answer the questions, were large enough to see. Overall, though, this is a solid resource for math, science, and language-arts lessons.
Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

Publishers Weekly - January 2012

Slade uses an appealing formula to simultaneously teach readers about both animal collective nouns and division. Rhyming word problems followed by numerical equations introduce animal groups, including a “charm” of hummingbirds, a “crash” of rhinos, and a “tribe” of billy goats. Readers are encouraged to fill in the answers to each rhyme: “Nine hungry leopards/ waking up from sleep./ Three groups are on the prowl./ How many in each leap? 9 ÷ 3 = ?” Hunter’s naturalistic but warm paintings skillfully embody the two concepts, and appended materials include a matching game, a quiz about animal habitats, and an explanation of how division works. Ages 4–9.

Libray Media Connection - August 2012

Simple math story problems are presented as rhymes to teach readers about division. The book also teaches new vocabulary terms related to animal collective nouns. The division exercises are conveyed via the animals pictured for each group name: band, herd, or tribe. Because this beautifully illustrated book uses the groups and numbers in the text to teach division, a teacher could use it as a picture book or to engage children in these mathematical concepts. Four teaching activities are included, with the “collective noun matching” and “Where in the World?” sections being the most noteworthy. Animal habitats can be incorporated into geography lessons. This book allows teachers and librarians to instruct young children, however older readers may find the sing-song text childish. Jo Monahan, Librarian, University of North Texas Libraries, Denton, Texas [Editor’s Note: Available in e-book format and paperback. Teaching materials are available on the publisher’s website.] RECOMMENDED

Learning Table Reviews - June 2012

The Great Divide introduces readers to the names of animal groups, which were totally unfamiliar to me.  It was interesting to learn that squirrels live in a dray, penguins in a rookery, and meerkats in a mob.  What fun to discover animal family names, and then to use this information to reinforce dividing skills.  When twelve hummingbirds have to share four flowers, readers must solve 12 ÷ 4 = ? to figure out how many hummingirds make up each "charm."  The rhyming text and the unique illustrations depicting the animals in action will appeal to even the most reluctant reader or listener.


As with all of the Arbordale titles we have read, The Great Divide stretches learning across the curriculum and provides many opportunities for integrating many subjects.  This book makes a great reader or read-aloud on its own, or it could be used as enrichment for a lesson on division.  With the downloadable activities, you could turn this into a complete unit study.  Geared toward ages 4-9, even middle schoolers will learn something from The Great Divide, and you might find math becoming a new favorite subject.

Portland Book Review - November 2012

Author Suzanne Slade puts fun into math time in her book, The Great Divide. As children enjoy flipping through the pages, they may not even realize they are learning math skills. Readers are asked to look at each picture and figure out how many animals are in each grouping. This is a basic lesson in division that even young kids can understand, and older readers will be able to tackle the problems on their own.

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - February 2012

It is absolutely a joy for moms, who are surrounded by cell phones beeping and computers buzzing, to be able to purchase books for their children and read to them - learn as a family. Technology has attempted to erase reading, yet Arbordale and these amazing creative minds and illustrators are making sure that the family who learns together, stays together. And in the back of this book, as in the other Arbordale books, there is a ton of information on animals in our world that is truly a fun ride.

Quill says: A small book offering great BIG knowledge!

Home School Book Review - March 2012

The first couple of pages point out that many animals spend a lot of time with their families and friends and then identify the names for many collections of common animals, such as a skulk of foxes and a dray of squirrels.  In the back, a collective nouns matching activity, a “Where in the World” quiz, and a couple of pages with further information about division “For Creative Minds,” can all be found, and there are even more activities and quizzes for The Great Divide at the publisher’s website.  Erin E. Hunter’s illustrations are a great addition to this cross-curricular approach where children can bone up on their division in a setting where they can also study a little bit about nature.

The Friendly Book Nook - June 2012

Another winning non-fiction book by Arbordale Publishers.  This book not only reviews division facts, but teaches what groups of animals are called, collective nouns matching, penguins of the world map, division as the opposite of multiplication, and hands on: dividing cookies.  This book comes in hardback, paperback, eBook in English, and eBook in Spanish. Visit for more information.

Again I read this book to my second graders, and they think they are so grown-up because many of them know these division facts.  The illustrations are wonderful and support the text.  Animals always keep their attention, and this book has a good variety of them.  My second graders and I give this book a thumbs up!

Eclectic Homeschool Online - March 2012

We love to play with words around here, so this playful math-based picture book fits right in. In The Great Divide (What's the Difference?) simple division problems are illustrated with groups of animals, and just by the way, you get to learn the names for different groupings (a pod of whales, a pride of lions; you may already have known these, but did you know about a skulk of foxes? How about a dray of squirrels or a charm of hummingbirds?).

The book doesn't teach division, but it's a fun read for students who are learning the subject in their arithmetic studies. The pictures are bright, lifelike, and colorful, and each division equation is accompanied by simple rhyming text. Four pages at the end of the book contain learning activities, matching collective nouns to their corresponding animals, mapping where various animals live, and a brief discussion of division. Additional learning pages are available at the publisher's website.

Tiff Talks Books - May 2012

In Slade's newest picture book, The Great Divide, she takes on basic division with the continued theme of animals, but this time focusing on groupings and the cool names that they are referred to. I personally love Slade's ability to turn math into rhyming fun.  Her wit and unique idea not only create math sentences, making this sometimes difficult subject easier to relate to, but also brings in a scientific topic that even adults can have fun with. Slade has another number hit!

I cannot close this review without also making special mention of the illustrator, Erin E. Hunter.  The illustrations accompanying Slade's story assist in the math learning, but also realistically portray the animals.  The illustrations are in one word:  GORGEOUS!

Over a Steaming Cup of Tea - April 2012

Because readers need to be able to count the animals on the page (unless they already know simple division problems by memory), this book will not work well to read to large groups, but it is an excellent choice for one-on-one reading. I enjoyed the beautiful illustrations on each page and the rhyming verses that shared the math challenge and the name for the group of animals pictured. Overall, this book will make math fun for reluctant young mathematicians and reinforce the value in children who already enjoy math. Definitely a treasure!

Reader KidZ - March 2012

It was a special treat last week to read aloud and discover my students’ enthusiasm for THE GREAT DIVIDE by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Erin. E. Hunter (Arbordale, 2012).  I honestly wasn’t sure what their reaction would be. True, we’d been focusing on division for several weeks, so the students had quite a lot of background knowledge. And a number of the children had already passed the grade-level  division timed tests. But how would they react to a rhyming text that included not only a simple division problem, but that also aimed to  introduce the collective noun (animal group) names of each species mentioned?

The kids enjoyed the book immensely! They were completely engaged with the text and with each new page, were anxious to call-out the answers. Together, we marveled at the interesting animal group names, and wondered about the origin of some of the more unusual names. Today, we’ll take advantage of Arbordale’s free e-book offer and check out Suzanne Slade’s companion book about multiplication, MULTIPLY ON THE FLY.

Mymcbooks - March 2012

A book that teaches children basic division using animals and group name. Example, 15 * 3 =? Fifteen playful elephants, looking quite absurd, perform in three rings. How many in each herd? The illustrations by Erin E. Hunter are very beautiful and bold making it a pleasant read.

Books 4 Learning - March 2012

Children interact with the book by solving each riddle and identifying the name associated with each animal group.  For instance, groups of toads are called knots and rhinos are referred to as crashes.  Younger children can count the animals/groups and discuss sound devices (important for early reading skills).  Many of the riddles include alliteration (rambunctious rhinos) and all have end rhymes (splash/crash).  Brainstorm other words with the same beginning sounds or rhymes.  The illustrations (by Erin H. Hunter) beautifully capture each group of animals in their natural habitats.  Children can talk about where the animals live as well as compare/contrast the different environments.

Torrance Macaroni Kid - March 2012

My son is learning division so I was quite happy to receive The Great Divide from our friends at Arbordale Publishing. This book is written by Suzanne Slade and Illustrated by Erin Hunter.  It is fun and educational and great for children learning about division.My son loved it and division is not one of his favorite things to do.

Heck of a Bunch - January 2012

In The Great Divide, children can learn about groups of animals while committing division skills to memory.  Different types of animals are represented in colorful illustrations.  The cadence of the story is told in a rhyming format.  Further lessons can be learned in the "Creative Minds" section of the book.  Collective nouns matching and a detailed explanation of division are just a couple of the educational pages that provide supplemental educational material.

SWON - October 2012

"The bright colorful animal illustrations and rhyming text will appeal to children even before they need to learn division. An interesting and gentle introduction to an important math concept."