The premise in this book is a homework assignment where the students have to draw sets of 12. The amounts of sets and items is up to them. They can draw one set of 12, two of six, three of four, or four of three. I know that the author uses this exact assignment with adult art students, but it also works for teaching younger children about counting, multiplication, and elementary factoring. And the children take the assignment to heart, expressing their interests through their drawings.
|Roses! And mmm, donuts.|
This book's author, Ivan Brunetti, an artist and educator who has been working in comics for a few decades. Currently an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, he has done multiple covers for The New Yorker and created all kinds of solo work, including lots of independent comics and lately a growing number of titles for younger readers like Comics: Easy As ABC. He speaks about his work on 3x4 in this interview.
All the reviews I have read of this book have been glowing. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews summed up, "So exemplary an execution of a simple concept that it can be read multiple ways—as multiplication, counting, sorting—without sacrificing fun." In another starred review, Publishers Weekly concluded, "As the characters work through the multiplication concept on their own terms, readers are sure to arrive at a clearer understanding." Kelley Gile gave it another starred review, calling it "a lovely graphic story that teaches a simple concept in a most engaging way."
3x4 was published by TOON Books, and they offer a preview and more here.