Infinity and Me

In Infinity and Me, Kate Hosford, delivers an elegant picture book, with an informative and fascinating storyline.  It is the story of inquisitive, wide-eyed, and charming eight-year-old Uma, who is the proud owner of a new pair of red shoes.

So excited is Uma about her new shoes, she can’t seem to fall asleep, and instead wanders outside to look up at the starry night sky. Looking up at the very, very, big sky, Uma feels very, very small. This juxtaposition between the tiny – Uma and her new red shoes – and the vast - the sky at night, starts Uma wondering, and sends her on a quest to understand the concept of infinity, and how it relates to her. Uma starts asking questions of the people around her, and searching for different explanations and examples that will help her understand this complex concept.

Using amusing comparisons, similes and engaging dialogue that children can relate to, the author addresses a complex, abstract mathematical concept, and successfully breaks it down into individual concrete and understandable pieces. The story includes profound and zany questions and answers that will peak the reader’s interest.  For example, Hosford describes the infinity symbol as a figure eight in the shape of a racetrack that “fell down and took a nap,” an explanation that both intrigues and delights.

Hosford’s perfectly  blends learning and fun, and rescues the charm of the story by including tender and intimate touches, like the unconditional love of Uma’s grandma, and showing the two snuggling up next to each other, and contemplating the night sky at the story’s end.

The story’s thoughtful conversations about infinity may be a little abstract for younger children, but would be a great discussion topic for children beginning middle-school. The book’s whimsical illustrations give the story a sense of timeless wonder, and pair well with the storyline.  This is a book that children will reread, as they grow older and are able to grasp the more profound ideas included in the book.

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