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At first glance, i.e. judging a book by its cover, you would think that this is another version; a follow-up if you will, of the old Rumplestiltskin fairy tale, which by the way was fine with me as I am rather fond of this old story. But no, no, no...what a sneaky author we have here! While this work is indeed a rousing tale featuring the rotten little guy we all grew up with, it is so much more. In this little book we are given a wonderful math lesson dealing with multiplication of numbers and fractions.

There are basically two kinds of people in this world when it comes to math; those that "get it" and those like myself that "don't get it." If you wonder down the halls of just about any middle school or high school in the country and ask random kids what they think about math the most common answer by far is "math sux." I will be honest with you and tell you that has been my standard answer since about the age of five. (Maybe not in those word, but pretty close). This is a pity, really. I think that one of the problems is that there are so many of us that fall into the category of "don't get it" that we have found very little about math that is actually fun! This little book is actually one of those rare little gems you find now and then that does actually make math fun!

Peter, the little boy who was suppose to be given to Rumplestiltskin as the menacing little guy's payment for making straw into gold, is having his tenth birthday and Rumple shows up to collect. When he is refused the brings havoc to the kingdom using his magic walking stick to multiply things that should not be multiplied, i.e. bugs, rats, mice, noses and such, and to make things vanish through multiplication such as guards, cows, pigs, chickens and such...troubles, troubles, troubles!

To make a long story short, Peter gives himself up and goes o live with the Rumpleman. He steals his magic walking stick and through multiplication escapes and goes on to set things right throughout the kingdom and eventually defeating the pesky little rapscallion.

We have wonderful little mathematic word sentences throughout the book such as:

"He put two chairs in front of Rumpelstiltskin's bed. "Chairs times fifty," he said pointing the stick. A wall of 100 chairs blocked the bed."

and

"How many stepping stones ere here before?" he asked.

"Twenty-seven," the boy said. "I count them everyday as I walk across. No there are only three sones left."

Peter picked up twenty-seven pebbles and put them down in groups of three. Then he pointed the walking stick and said, "Stepping stones times nine."

Whole numbers and fractions are used with these little problems and used quite effectively and blended into the story perfectly to the point that the young child is learning but not realizing it.

The art work in this one by Wayne Geehan is great...very quirky and very appealing.

I have to tell you folks, there is very little about this book not to like. It is a wonderful teaching tool and a great motivator.

Now this book did not make me personally become more fond of math; I am simply too old and stubborn and refuse to change my ways or attitude, but perhaps it will go far in changing a young person's attitude who is not so set in her or his ways...you never know!

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
0Comment|17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 3, 2006
My daughter read this book and I asked her how it was. I knew what her answer would be before I even asked, because she always gives the same answer to questions like this: "Goodish." How was school? Goodish. How was the movie? Goodish. How was Multiplying Menace? "Really good!" If that's not a 5 star rating, I don't know what is.
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on October 6, 2008
This is a great math adventure about multiplying numbers and fractions for older children. It is very clever. With its use of magic, it appeals to fanciful side of every student.
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on December 29, 2013
When character was multiplying by fractions, I worried the students would be confused, since we haven't studied that concept yet. Instead, they caught on to how it works and were guessing what he'd multiplied by before I could read it!
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on November 26, 2013
This is a really cute retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. I loved that the evil little guy comes around ten years later to demand more. Such a meanie. The math lesson is wonderful - I recommend this book for grade-school age children to enjoy.
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on April 24, 2016
This is a great way to begin a conversation on multiplying whole numbers by other whole numbers or whole numbers by fractions. The only reason it's getting 4 stars instead of 5 is because it doesn't meet the "culturally inclusive" part of a great book. All the characters look exactly the same as the boy on the cover.
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on December 13, 2015
A well illustrated and nice book, but for my purpose it was just okay. It did help ignite some interest in math related topics in a couple of little girls I know who don't like math and haven't memorized their multiplication tables. Unfortunately most of the multiplication was by fractions. Even so,they were able to understand how the "magic" worked, but actually one read through, and the usefulness is done. It would be good for a classroom where the positive effect could multipy by x years and x students.
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on August 23, 2014
I bought this book to help with our home school. I think it does a great job of telling the story and incorporating the math ideas at the same time. The illustrations are great and I really like that they include multiplying with fractions because my daughter will be learning just multiplication for first grade, but we will be introducing fractions to my son who is a fourth grader.
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on March 16, 2011
My kids, even my 3 and 4 year old, loved the story. I'm not sure the multiplying part was taken in but it is a great intro that I can go back to say hey remember when....
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on July 25, 2012
A fun story that I can see being used as a teaching aid for classes throughout our Primary school.The concepts of multiplication and division are explained in a simple story with concrete objects in a real world situation. A good buy too.
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