About the Holiday
If you love bananas, you’re not alone! Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States and one of the most popular worldwide. How popular are they? On average each person eats 100 of these delicious fruits every year. Bananas’ are versatile and nutritious, making them a perfect addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time. Today, banana lovers can celebrate by enjoying this appealing fruit in their favorite way. But first, you’ll need to buy a bunch. Make the shopping fun for you and your little ones with today’s book!
Banana for Two
Written by Ellen Mayer | Illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
As a mother strolls her shopping cart through the grocery store, she engages her toddler, who’s brought along two stuffed bunnies, in choosing the items they need. Mama talks to her child about the one roll of paper towels she puts in the cart, then it’s off to the cereal aisle. Holding up a colorful box, Mama says, “‘Here’s your favorite cereal’” to which her toddler enthusiastically answers, “‘MORE!’” Playfully, Mama holds the box up to one eye and says, “‘we don’t need more—just one box. Peek-a-boo! Can you see just one eye?’”
Her little one giggles as they head for the dairy aisle for yogurt. Here, the child’s wish for “‘MORE!’” is granted, and Mama lets her little one hold the containers. “‘One, two—one for each hand,’ says Mama.” The child laughs and kicks, excited to help. As they pass through the fruit section, the toddler grabs a banana from the display and holds it up triumphantly. Mama is happy to add the one banana to the cart to eat later. “‘Look—one banana for one hand!’” she points out.
At check-out, Mama names each item and the quantity they are buying as she puts the banana, yogurt, carrots, potatoes, milk, and other things on the conveyor belt. But her little one wants to help too! Suddenly, one of the stuffed bunnies is riding toward the smiling clerk on top of the roll of paper towels. Back home, it’s time for a snack. As Mama cuts the banana in half, her toddler proudly exclaims, “‘TWO!’” showing an understanding of the concept of two.
A note for parents, grandparents, and caregivers by early math expert Deborah Stipek is included. Gender neutral clothing and hair and the absence of personal pronouns in the text make this a universal book for all children.
Ellen Mayer’s joyful math board book for the youngest readers introduces parents and other caregivers to ways that they can add math talk to everyday activities. In Banana for Two, grocery shopping becomes a fun opportunity for an adult and child to talk together about quantity—an important early building block for math understanding and future math success. Connecting concepts a child already knows—such as two containers of yogurt for two hands—as the mother does in Banana for Two is another way to strengthen understanding.
Mayer’s conversational style—indeed the whole story is a conversation between mother and child—is sweet and loving and full of the kinds of moments that may seem routine to adults but that children cherish sharing with parents, grandparents, or other caregivers. And the final image of the little one happily savoring slices of banana will have kids asking for “‘MORE!'”
Ying-Hwa Hu’s exuberant illustrations of mother and child will make little ones and adults smile. Cheerful eye contact between the two shows the love they share and their enjoyment in spending time together. Colorful boxes and containers line the grocery store shelves, giving the pages a fresh and sunny feel. The items Mama adds to the cart are clearly shown in quantities of one and two. Little readers will love the adorable stuffed bunnies and join in the toddler’s pride as they too recognize the ideas of one and two.
Banana for Two will charm little ones and would made a perfect book to share before shopping, at meal or snack time, or during playtime to reinforce the lesson and the fun of learning. The book also makes an excellent shower or new baby gift and is highly recommended for home, preschool classroom, and public library board book collections.
Ages Birth – 2
Star Bright Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1595727886 (English edition) | ISBN 978-1595727992 (Bilingual Spanish/English Edition)
Banana for Two is also available in bilingual editions in these languages. See the Star Bright Books website for more information and how to order. To find all of languages Star Bright Books titles are published in, click here.
Chinese/English | Hindi/English | Hmong/English | Punjabi/English | Somali/English | Spanish/English
To discover more about Ellen Mayer and her books as well as find lots of resources for adults and fun activities for kids, visit her website.
Learn more about Ying-Hwa Hu and her art, and her books, visit her website.
Banana Lovers Day Activity
Math Fun Is in the Bag Grocery Shopping Game
Little ones love to pretend to go grocery shopping! With the printable game pieces and instructions here, you and your child can fill a bag with items in quantities of one and two and share some math fun!
- Printable Math Fun Is in the Bag template
- One 8 ½” by 11” piece of paper, or your own paper sandwich bag
- Crayons (optional)
To Make a Bag
- Fold the 8 ½” by 11” piece of paper in half and tape on the side and at the bottom
- Your child may enjoy decorating your homemade bag or a paper sandwich bag with crayons
To Play the Game
- After printing the Math Fun Is in the Bag template, talk with your little one about the quantity of items in each picture. Even if your child is not talking yet, they are listening and learning.
- Help your child cut the pictures apart
- Ask your child to find a picture of one banana and put it in the bag
- Continue with the other pictures, noting the quantity of the item
- For older children, print two (or more) copies of the Math Fun Is in the Bag template and have them add two bananas, two cartons of milk, four carrots, and four containers of yogurt to the bag.
- Older children may also enjoy paying for their groceries with pennies in quantities of one or two (or more). Set a price for each item and help children count out the coins needed to pay for them.
More Math Fun!
You’ll find more Math Fun, including printable bunny puppets to make, pretend play suggestions, and tips for talking about two on Ellen Mayer’s Website!
You can find Banana for Two at these booksellers
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review