How Many Jelly Beans?
Andrea Menotti, MBA '12
Remember those contests in store windows: “Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar?” Andrea Menotti’s book asks a
similar question from a charmingly different perspective. The oversized, brightly colored children’s book uses sparse text and
lots of graphics to help kids visualize large numbers.
Kids Aiden and Emma, assisted by their pup, Murphy, debate how many jelly beans they can eat, quickly ratcheting up
the numbers in typical kid fashion. They use math to break down and gain perspective on larger numbers: Over a year, one thousand jelly
beans means only two or three per day, for example.
Each number — whether it’s 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 1,000, 5,000, or the book’s staggering conclusion of 1,000,000, — is ably illustrated by Menotti’s husband, Yancey Labat, with the requisite number of jellybeans. (Yes, there are actually one million jelly beans drawn on a single page. For the maximum wow factor, read with your favorite kid).
Menotti, a former middle-school teacher and current parent, recalls watching a colleague have her students create thousands of stars on a bulletin board. Later, as a children’s-book editor, she worked on books that dealt with big numbers. “I’d never been happy with the results — they always fell short of actually showing kids a million of something right before their eyes,” says Menotti. She was also inspired by her own childhood experience. Given the chance to scoop as many jelly beans from a store bin as she wanted, she filled the biggest bag imaginable. “I thought they would last me for months, but I ate them all in three weeks,” says Menotti. “My ’note to self:’ You can never have too many jelly beans!”
Menotti is currently working on four more children’s books.