Author: Kate Hosford Illustrator: Gabi Swiatkowska
Publishers: CarolRhoda Books
In the math picture book Infinity and Me, Uma struggles to understand how a number could be so big to be endless. A budding philosopher and yet the little girl who peeps out is endearing.
Unable to sleep because she has her new red shoes on Uma steps out into the night. The starry night overwhelms her as she grapples with the vastness.
The following day Uma asks her grandma, her friends and her teachers about infinity. They all try to explain the concept in their own ways—all leading to the concept of ‘forever’.
Now Uma is even more puzzled. How can something go on forever? If she stays eight years old forever, will the world around her stay still? Or will it continue to change and leave her behind? If she were to indulge in her favorite pastimes forever will they still be her favorite? If she could lick the ice cream forever, would it still be her favorite or will it end up hurting her?
One questions leads to another and Uma feels dissatisfied with the answers. She goes home with a headache. That evening Uma sits with her grandma as she prepares dinner.
Grandma compliments Uma on her beautiful new red shoes and the little girl understands how something can be so vast that it goes on forever!
Having had a child in class who simply loved her ‘red dancing shoes’, and having listened to endless discussions on infinity by five year olds, I was delighted to find a book that put both these together. While we adults may see the red shoes as insignificant compared to the concept of infinity, it makes perfect sense for a child! The ending is simply brilliant! What better definition of limitlessness can there be for a little girl, other than the love she feels at that moment?
The illustrations are gorgeous, though there are some dark overtones. It contrasts well when Uma realizes her love for her grandma is infinite.