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Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure) Paperback – February 1, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
Book 2 of 9 in the Sir Cumference Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cindy Neuschwander is an elementary school teacher who loves teaching math. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and writing stories. She thought up Sir Cumference while visiting medieval castles in England. Cindy lives in Pleasanton, California.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 510L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Math Adventure
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570911649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570911644
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi is the story of a boy that must use math to save his father. Most of the character's names are terms found in math, like Sir Cumference and Radius, which cleverly adds to the effect of the story. The use of a dragon gives the story more of a fantasy feel which appeals to the younger audience. The illustrations in the book are done well and add to the medieval setting of the book because they look like oil paintings. The goal of this book is to introduce kids to the concept of pi in a fun and easy to understand way. It pulls this off by having a fairy tale setting and actually having a reason to use pi that kids can understand. This book is not a quick read, yet it's not long enough to lose the attention of a child. Even though this is a children's book, it should only be used for older children since it involves division with fractions. Because of this, it works as a great educational tool for those older children by introducing them to a fundamental math term they will most likely use later in life.
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Format: Hardcover
I feel the age range given on the website should not be ages 4-8. This is appropriate for 8 and up. That said, my 5 year old enjoys it as just a fairy tale and I would not attempt any "teaching" to him. He listens as I read it to my older daughters and maybe it will seep in so when he's old enough to begin measuring, he will easily grasp the concepts.

This is a wonderful book - good illustrations and a clever story. The author works the math part in without it being cumbersome. A few times through this book and your child will have a good grasp of pi. At the least, it will be a good memory trigger if he/she needs help in class.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have use this book in my middle school classroom. The kids enjoy it. Yes, it is silly but heck so are middle school kids! Since reading the book and discussing it, the kids have a much better understanding of what pi really is, instead of just saying about 3.14.
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Format: Paperback
As a fifth/sixth grade teacher, I find all of these "Sir Cumference" books to be interesting to students at every stage of learning about the math concepts they present. This is the one mathematically-flawed book in the series, however, which accounts for the 3 star rating. The young boy, Radius, searches for a cure for his father's unexpected transformation into a dragon, and 3 and 1/7 works as the value for pi needed to restore him to human form. It's a bit nit-picky of me, perhaps, but one of the most essential things a student should learn about pi is that it is a non-terminating decimal value which got a name because it couldn't be accurately quantified. That said, any teacher (or interested parent) could clear up the fuzzy definition. The books are funny, brief, written on a relatively easy level, and -- while most likely to be appreciated fully by students who have already learned the math -- could be enjoyed as stories by even the youngest listeners, as other parent/teacher reviewers have affirmed. This book, like the others, does a good job of using verbal jokes to help secure math vocabulary.
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Format: Paperback
My kids love this book! They range in age from an 11 yr old girl to a 3 yr old boy and they all enjoy it! My son loves the story and the knights and adventure. And, he is learning something in the process. My older kids enjoy the story also but on a different level and it also reinforces what they have already learned! What a great concept! I can't wait for more to come out! We already own all 4!
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By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
A young boy gives his father the wrong potion to cure a bellyache, and must solve the riddle of the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter to get the dosage to cure him. I enjoyed the fun names (Geo and Sym, the Metry brothers), but I was disappointed in the author's choice to use 22/7 as the value for pi. If the story hadn't made such a big point of getting the dose correct (or Dad would never be cured), I wouldn't have had any trouble with introducing an approximate value.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having prepared myself for rejection, ready for rebuke for shoving math down her throat, I was rather amazed how my almost 8-year old granddaughter took to these books. Illustrations are nothing special, but effective. The child loves the punny names of all the characters. I now think she'll understand the concepts radius, diameter, circumference, pi, for the rest of her life.

The child is only just beginning to learn her 2x, 3x multiplication tables, but she became so good after reading this book at thinking of circles in terms of Pi = Circumference divided by Diameter, I somewhat regretted that Knights of Angleland used angle measurements in degrees instead of radians. A missed opportunity. Because of this book, perhaps the first mathematical formula she truly understands is Circumference (read: Sir Cumference) = 2(Pi)(Radius) or (Pi)(Diameter). Using radians (Radius is Sir Cumference's son) as the angle measurement would both prepare kids for basic trig and allow for endless punning opportunities. Oh well ... maybe later in the series after old Sir Degrees passes away ...

Even so, she liked it a lot more than I expected and it taught the material well. Hit right in her wheelhouse for reading level and just a hair ahead of her in math, though it's given her an incentive (among several) to learn her multiplication tables, which have been met with less resistance than one might suspect. She's voraciously read Dragons of Pi, Knights of Angleland, and the First Roundtable, all at least twice, this one four times, at least, so we're going to try a couple more.

For me as an adult, I almost went with four stars because the illustrations aren't particularly inspiring. But based on how elegantly it treats the subject matter and the impressive reaction from my focus group of one, on her behalf I'll go with five. I wasn't expecting Sir Cumference to become a house favorite, but lately there always seems to be a copy near the top of the stack.
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