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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens

I'm super excited to share my latest literature connection from Cindy Neuschwander's Sir Cumference series. These delightful books entertain older children with more complicated math topics. I firmly believe that every student enjoys a good read aloud every now and then. I especially like how this one makes our older students think. (This post does contain affiliate links.)


This story takes place in medieval times when Lady Di and her husband, Sir Cumference, decide to throw a gloomy king a birthday celebration. They send invitations throughout the land and invite a TON of guests to attend.


Of course, as all these guests arrive, it's incredibly unorganized. Lady Di has no idea how many guests are even there as everyone is milling around, running into each other and causing general chaos. She tries a few strategies to find the total of people- all of which are incredibly unorganized.


Finally, she realizes that grouping people in tens and eventually hundreds, helps to count the total number quickly. This is especially true as more people continue to arrive. Using her strategy, she is easily able to combine the totals for one giant number of guests!


This book hits a lot of great math topics that would be great for students in Grades 3 and up.

  • Problem Solving Strategies: Lady Di tries a few strategies and realizes they aren't efficient. This is a great conversation starter about why we need to try different strategies and decide on the best one to use.

  • Place Value Concepts: Cindy Neuschwander compares place value to large tents set up to hold guests. It's a great way of seeing that the place value holds the value by seeing the groups of tens and hundreds. There are also great illustrations showing how you could count them easily.

  • Perseverance: As Lady Di becomes frustrated, it would be easy to give up. However, she and Sir Cumference continue working to help the king have a wonderful birthday. This is a great message to students to see why we need to keep trying even when things can seem impossible.


To help students follow along with the strategies in the book, I've included a free guide that encourages students to identify the strategies and show the place value. This is a great way to keep your students engaged and following along while reading the book. You can download this using the form below.



If you are unable to purchase the book, check out this read aloud from YouTube! Be sure to grab your guide from above so students can follow along.



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