How is it possible to count a complicated pattern of strawberry seeds or grapes on a vine or camel humps--in a blink of an eye? If children can open their minds to new ways of perceiving math, anything is possible! Greg Tang shows readers creative ways to use patterns and combinations of numbers to solve math puzzles quickly and effectively. Rather than laboriously counting 24 mushroom slices on a pizza, Tang suggests: "Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count twice." And in adding the number of dots on a fan: "Instead of seeing groups of threes, / Count by fives and it's a breeze!"
Every two-page spread features cheerful computer-generated art by Harry Briggs, depicting rows of camels, beaches full of seashells, and vines laden with grapes. Tang's witty little accompanying verses tickle the fancy even as they challenge the mind. Guided by hints in the verses, readers find solutions to each math riddle, by looking "askew" to find a pattern, subtracting in order to add, or adding numbers that have easy sums before clustering them to add in groups. Solutions and explanations are provided in the back of the book. With a little creativity and common sense, as opposed to formulas and memorization, Tang believes that all kids can do well in math--and have fun while they're at it. Readers of The Grapes of Math are already ahead of the game. (Ages 6 to 10) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
This clever collection of puzzles could spark the interest of even the mathematically challenged. The first-time collaborators serve up 16 math riddles, and team brisk verses ("Mama mia, pizza pie,/ How many mushrooms do you spy?") with bright computer-generated illustrations to teach problem-solving tricks and strategies. Each riddle offers a clue that nudges readers to look at the problem creatively the aforementioned "Large Pizza to Go!," for instance, hints, "Please don't count them, it's too slow,/ This hot pie was made to go!/ Let me give you some advice,/ Just do half and count it twice," while another riddle suggests, "Instead of seeing groups of threes,/ Count by fives and it's a breeze!" The simple, staccato rhymes and crisp lines of the artwork keep attention focused, while those who find themselves stumped can consult the "Answers" section at the back of the book, which offers an explanation of each problem and shows how to group objects together and look for patterns in order to speed up the calculation process. Whether counting fish, scallops, camel humps or ants at a picnic, this duo's enthusiasm for their subject matter is contagious. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)
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