Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy

Symmetry montage

Seeing Symmetryby Loreen Leedy is one of those books that happened along at just the right time in our home and homeschool.  (Actually, it didn’t just “happen” along, since I requested that one of our local libraries purchase it.  However, I didn’t remember when I did that that this is a topic that would come up soon in Louise’s math lessons.  Serendipity!)  I already have a huge appreciation for Loreen Leedy’s work, having used her books on graphs and measuring (as well as other topics) in our homeschool.  Symmetry just happens to be one of those topics I personally find fascinating but have somewhat of a hard time communicating to my young elementary-aged children.  Louise is a freshly-minted seven year old and a visual learner, so while I think she “gets” symmetry, it’s still a hard-to-discuss topic.  Reading Seeing Symmetry gave us the words and concepts we needed to put more “meat” on our understanding; now, instead of it being a rather nebulous visual concept we have an understanding of but few tools to discuss, we can use words like linear symmetry, rotational symmetry, line of symmetry, and center point.    Leedy does an excellent job of moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar; she introduces symmetry by listing several places where a child might’ve seen it, and she goes on to explain the simpler concept of line symmetry.  Moving on from there, she discusses how animals, people, and even words have symmetry, and then she introduces rotational symmetry.  She briefly dicusses how important symmetry is for locomotion in animals, and this is then followed by several two-page spreads of different places one might observe symmetry:  in nature, in art, in holiday symbols, in furniture, and in architecture.  The backmatter of the book includes additional explanatory notes on concepts mentioned in the book, activities one can do to demonstrate symmetry (i.e. paper doll-like folding and cutting, paint blot patterns), how symmetry relates to math, and a glossary.  I like how almost every element in the book, from the title page to the dedication (“To Andy, my other half”) somehow demonstrate symmetry.  The only thing that could’ve made this book better, in my opinion, is if real photographs had been been used for illustrations instead of computer-generated graphics.  (There are plenty of other books that show this side of nature, so this is perhaps a small quibble, but one that I think would’ve enhanced this book a lot.)  We give this book a Highly Recommended for anyone from age six to one hundred six!  (Holiday House, 2012)

This book was nominated for a Cybils Award in the nonfiction picture books category.

This week’s Nonfiction Monday round-up is at Randomly Reading.

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2 thoughts on “Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy”

  1. We read this one earlier this year and loved it. I got it out again when looking at Cybils nominated books and my oldest was really excited to see it again. I think I forgot to review it though. Ah well, better to read than to review. :)

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