Zero the Hero by Joan Holub
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Published by Henry Holt and Company
"Unlike most numbers, Zero believed himself to be a hero. He just needed a chance to prove it." Unfortunately, Zero just didn't seem to fit among the other numbers. He needed other numbers to have some value, and by himself he amounted to zero, zilch, nada. He was confused with the letter "O" and donuts, and whether he was added or subtracted, the answer never changed. He just didn't count. One day, Zero discovered that he had a special power when it came to multiplication: he made things disappear. Afraid of him the other numbers ran away and feeling more like a villain than a hero, Zero rolled himself "heading for infinity or oblivion, whichever came first." But when a group of truly villainous Roman Numerals captured all the other digits, Zero finally has a chance to be the hero he always knew he could be.
It's been a while since I've found a Math Picture Book that I just HAVE to have in my math classroom library. Zero the Hero is that kind of book. It's hilariously clever, full of content area connections, and Lichtenheld's illustrations are delightful and filled with a sense of humor that will captivate students and teachers alike. Zero turns out to be a pretty cool and useful hero.