David LaRochelle

author & illustrator

1+ 1= 5 and Other Unlikely Equations

1 + 1 = 5 by David LaRochelle

illus­trat­ed by Bren­da Sex­ton
Ster­ling Chil­dren’s Books, 2010
ages 5 to 12, ISBN 978–1‑4027–5995‑6

Find this book at your local library or favorite used bookseller.

So you think 1 + 1 = 2? After read­ing this book, you won’t be so sure.

With a mix of math and cre­ative think­ing, 1 + 1 can equal 3, 13, or even 110. It all depends on what you’re adding! 

Stu­dents in kinder­garten through fifth grade have come up with their own cre­ative 1 + 1 equa­tions. What do YOU think 1 + 1 equals?


You and your stu­dents can explore the world of num­bers and cre­ativ­i­ty with this fun and use­ful teach­ing guide in col­or for 1 + 1 = 5 and Oth­er Unlike­ly Addi­tions. If you’d like to print the teach­ing guide in black-and-white, we’ve pro­vid­ed it that way, too.

Look­ing for even more ways to cel­e­brate num­bers and imag­i­na­tion? Here’s a Num­ber Hunt word search that is also a match­ing quiz.

Who knows what lurks behind these mild-man­nered numer­als when your stu­dents put their artis­tic skills to work dis­cov­er­ing The Secret Life of Num­bers.

Call­ing all brain­storm­ers! Stretch your imag­i­na­tion with these two work­sheets: Under­wa­ter Brain­storms and What Is It?

Get out your crayons and mark­ers and get read­ing for this Col­or­ing Sheet from 1 + 1 = 5.

And after your stu­dents tack­le some of the chal­lenges above or in the teach­ing guide, you can reward their efforts with this Cre­ativ­i­ty Cer­tifi­cate.

equation ideas
equation display
equation brainstorming

Awards and Recognition

Book Links Last­ing Con­nec­tion
Grand Canyon Read­er
Min­neso­ta Book Award final­ist
Texas 2x2 Read­ing List


“For those who think math prob­lems only have one right answer, this play­ful book offers a sur­pris­ing num­ber of solu­tions to 1+1. In one scene, a man and a cat push a wheel­bar­row con­tain­ing a pump­kin and water­mel­on. “1+1=hundreds?” asks a ban­ner. The rea­son­ing appears on the fol­low­ing page: “1 pump­kin + 1 water­mel­on = hun­dreds of seeds!” In anoth­er, the sun and moon grin at one anoth­er (“1+1=1?”). The expla­na­tion: “1 a.m. + 1 p.m. = 1 day!” An ener­getic and inven­tive spin on addi­tion. Ages 5–up.” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

“A great way to encour­age out­side-the-box think­ing.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“… the engag­ing sit­u­a­tions will make kids count and think.” (Book­list)

“LaRochelle’s text is thought-pro­vok­ing, while Sex­ton’s illus­tra­tions kick up the com­e­dy a few notch­es.” (Karen MacPher­son, The Seat­tle Times)

“Bright, geo­met­ric illus­tra­tions nice­ly bor­dered and framed make every page fun to turn, and add a sense of order to the bound­less imag­i­na­tion that this book will inspire.… Eas­i­ly one of the most inven­tive books of the year.” (Esme Raji Codell, planetesme.com)