Casey, B., Paugh, P., & Ballard, N. (2002). Sneeze builds a castle. Chicago, IL: The Wright Group/ McGraw-Hill.

This description of the book is excerpted from the article written by Casey, B., Kersh, J. E., & Mercer Young, J. (2004). Storytelling sagas: An effective medium for teaching early childhood mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly: Special Issue on Mathematics and Science, 19, 167-172.


"In Sneeze Builds a Castle, designed for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten levels, spatial concepts are taught in a systematic way through block building. Thus, the book provides a mathematical supplement to the open-ended block building activities typically experienced in early childhood classrooms. Sneeze, a friendly girl dragon, introduced as a puppet, takes the children on an imaginary journey set in the European Middle Ages. Since block-building skills based on the architectural principals of 'balance' have been found to predict for math achievement in older

students, the activities in Sneeze Builds a Castle are carefully sequenced, starting from the simple arched doorway in the castle wall, to the more sophisticated bridges across the moat with ramps and stairways, and finally to the multi-level castle tower. The NCTM standards relating to geometry are embedded in the activities throughout. These standards involve: investigating and predicting the results of putting together and taking apart shapes, creating mental images of geometric shapes, predicting the effects of transformations on shapes, sorting and classifying based on geometric properties, and recognizing and describing spatial relationships (using words like inside, outside, top and bottom)."

Comments from the classroom:

"Initially, I wasn't sure of what using their bodies to make a castle would achieve, but later when I saw children working on their constructions, I realized that it was a very useful approach in helping the children internalize their understanding of the castle components and structural elements. They were able to transfer this body/kinesthetic experience into their actual construction activity."



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