Photo of Picture books: The Little Elephants' Big Adventures series

Join Lucy, Benjamin, and Bear on math adventures!

The Little Elephants’ Big Adventures series teaches early childhood math with fun adventures filled with mathematical words. Parents can expand the learning with questions to spark conversations. The books are a collaboration of the Purdue Early Achievement Research Labs with illustrator Matt Dye.

Read more about each book, learn about the research behind the book series, or the Little Elephants’ books in the news.

Books in the series

Too Many Pillows

Benjamin is worried he’ll forget something for their camping trip. He has so many things in his backpack that – CRASH – he falls down! They’ll have to work together to lighten both his pack and his worries in this picture book about facing your fears that teaches the early math concepts of more, many, most, and a lot.

Little Elephants' Big adventures illustration of them baking a cake

Just Enough Eggs

Hooray! It’s Bear’s birthday. But when Lucy’s cake falls flat the party will be a flop unless Benjamin, Lucy, and Bear can bake a just-right cake in this book about perseverance that teaches the early math concepts of same, similar, different, and enough.

Picnic With Some Peanuts

Uh-oh, where’s Bear? In this new math adventure story, Benjamin and Lucy must solve the mystery to save their picnic and their pal in this picture book about problem-solving that teaches the early math concepts of few, fewer, less, and a little bit.

The Research Behind the Little Elephants' series

The Little Elephants series was the brain child of the Purdue Early Achievement Research Labs. Their research found that preschool children learned a significant amount of math when it was part of a story. 

“We found that when children were read stories with age-appropriate mathematical language and pictures, and then discussed these specific concepts in small groups, they scored higher on math tests for not just these specific words, but also math skills that were not covered in the books.” – Dr. David Purpura, Purdue University

Just one problem – few books included math in the way that their research showed worked best. 

The Little Elephants’ Big Adventures series fills that need – engaging books that seamlessly integrate early childhood math content. The books were produced as a collaboration of the Purdue team; the author, Angela Isaacs; and the illustrator, Matt Dye.

Alongside the stories, each page includes questions that parents can use to start conversations as they read. Research shows that discussing books as you read increased kids’ learning and comprehension (a method called dialogic reading.) These questions make it easy for parents to have those kinds of discussions with their kids.


The Little Elephants' Books in the News

Article: Want To Improve Your Child's Math Skills? Read Them a Book!

How the Little Elephant books were developed and the research behind them.

Article: Engaging children in math at home equals a boost in more than just math skills

Preschool children who engage in everyday math activities at home, improve both their math skills and vocabulary.

12 Things to Know About the Little Elephant's BIG Adventures books

12 Things to Know about the Little Elephant's Big Adventures Books

Behind the scenes details of the Little Elephants' Big adventures books - preschool math, the research, and the writing of the books.

Article: Empowering preschool children with the language of math adds up to stronger skills

Preschool children who encounter math language in picture books show gains in math weeks later - even in math concepts not covered in the books.