Tally O'Malley
by Stuart Murphy & Cynthia Jabar


In Tally O'Malley, the O'Malley family is on their way to the beach. The drive is long and boring so they decide to pass the time with short tallying competitions-- first with cars, then t-shirts, and finally train cars. Readers get a clear idea of what tallying is. The concept is clearly presented and the storyline is certainly one that kids can relate to (bored on a road trip!) 



This cute Math Start book is perfect for teaching tallying!  And...Jabar's illustrations are adorable!  As with all MathStart books, pages at the end include ideas for extension activities --helping you turn a read aloud of this book into a whole graphing lesson. Your students will likely want to try their hand at tallying after a read aloud of this book.

Interest Level    Kindergarten - 2nd grade 


See inside Tally O'Malley

Below are sample spreads from inside this book--showing the very cute illustration style, the general amount of text per page, and the beginning of the graphing focus in the book. You can click on the pictures to see larger versions.


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!)



Lesson Ideas


Stuart Murphy's suggestions
On his website, Stuart Murphy provides the following suggested activities to do with their students/child in conjunction with reading this book:

  • Reread the story and have your students keep track of the data with their own tally marks. Make a chart with each of the characters' names, the colors they choose, and their tallies. Occasionally, stop to see how the child's tally marks compare with the marks in the book.
  • Say a number btwn 10-25 and ask students to make tally marks to represent that number.
  • Pizza Survey: Have the child or students take a survey, asking ask family, friends, and neighbors, "What kind of pizza do you like best?" Then work together to tally the responses. What kind of pizza is most popular? Least popular?
  • Plus there's a PDF activity page. Access the site here.

Tally Along with the O'Malleys
Pass out our worksheet for this book to each students and have them color in the pictures the appropriate color (listed below the picture).

Then read this book to your student and have them tally along as you read. At the end of each tallying game, stop and have your students check to see if their tally marks match the tally marks in the book.






This book is one of the MathStart series books. We LOVE the MathStart series. The stories are funny and cute...and SO effective for teaching the specific math concept being targeted. You can learn more about this great series of books by clicking on the book covers below or the link above.


Or check out our list of the best children's books for teaching graphing: