Elevator Magic (MathStart)

by Stuart Murphy; illustrated by Brian Karas


Elevator Magic is a cute MathStart series book that tells the story of Ben and his mother, who are in a skyscraper and must make a few stops on their way to the ground floor. Ben wants to be the one to push the elevator buttons, so he must use subtraction to decide what floor to go to next.

Murphy also uses play on words to create a little 'elevator magic.' (ie: the Farm Bank and Trust actually opens up into a farm). It's never made clear whether the boy is just imagining everything, but regardless, this twist adds a bit of fun to the story.

School Library Journal called it "amusing as well as informative." We agree. And the fact that the illustrations are by Brian Karas is a nice bonus. We love his work!

Reading Levels

Interest Level:  Grade 1-2
Grade Equiv:  1.9

DRA Level:   16
Guided Reading:  J

Lexile Measure: 240L

See Inside

Below are two sample spreads from inside this book. The first spread occurs near the beginning of the book, when the Ben's mother informs him that their first stop on the way down to the lobby of the tall office building is two floors down. He then calculates what floor that is so that he can push the right button. ("Mom said 2 floors down. Which one do I press? We're on 10. 2 floors down. 10-2=8. I think that floor 8 would be the best guess").

The spread at the very top of this page is the next spread in the book. In that spread, Ben and his mom stop in at the Farm Bank & Trust on level 8, where Ben is surprised to discover a range of farm animals, equipment, and fields right there in the bank. This happens at various other floors as well, adding a bit of fun and 'magic' to the overall story. And, of course, with each new stop on the way down to ground floor, new subtraction problems are posed, giving readers lots of opportunities to practice their "real world" subtraction!

To learn more about this book, click the link below.  (Please note that if you purchase an item from Amazon, they will give me a small referral fee.)



Lesson Ideas for Elevator Magic

Like all books in the MathStart series, this book includes two pages of suggested discussion topics and extension activities for use in your 1st or 2nd grade subtraction lessons [or basic subtraction lessons for any grade]. (This small image is just to give you an idea of this back section of the book.  We know you can't actually read this. :)  )


To learn more about this book, click the link below.  Please note that if you purchase an item from Amazon, they give us a small referral fee. (This helps pay for site hosting costs, thus allowing us to keep everything free for site visitors!)




This book is part of the fabulous MathStart series of math picture books. We love the MathStart series. To learn more, click on the images below or link above.