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The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure Paperback – August 18, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 08
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HOLT MCDOUGAL (August 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805062998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805062991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Young Robert's dreams have taken a decided turn for the weird. Instead of falling down holes and such, he's visiting a bizarre magical land of number tricks with the number devil as his host. Starting at one and adding zero and all the rest of the numbers, Robert and the number devil use giant furry calculators, piles of coconuts, and endlessly scrolling paper to introduce basic concepts of numeracy, from interesting number sequences to exponents to matrices. Author Hans Magnus Enzensberger's dry humor and sense of wonder will keep you and your kids entranced while you learn (shhh!) mathematical principles. Who could resist the little red guy who calls prime numbers "prima donnas," irrational numbers "unreasonable," and roots "rutabagas"? Not that the number devil is without his devilish qualities. He loses his temper when Robert looks for the easy way out of a number puzzle or dismisses math as boring and useless. "What do you expect?" he asks. "I'm the number devil, not Santa Claus." (Ages 10 to adult) --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a starred review, PW noted that "exceptionally handsome four-color illustrations and vignettes deepen the magic of this mathematically minded fantasy. For certain kinds of readersAchess players, puzzle enthusiastsAthis will be a favorite." Ages 11-up. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Hans Magnus Enzensberger is one of Germany's greatest living writers. In The Number Devil he has written a book that is essential reading for anyone - of any age who has ever been mystified by maths. The author lives in Munich.

Customer Reviews

It was a completely engrossing and fun book.
"eaik"
This book is a great way to learn basic math in a really fun way.
Andres Reyes
My son has enjoyed this book since he was about 9 years old.
Dave Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Bill Schwabenland on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out of the library to read to my 8 year old daughter (she wanted me to read "Flatland" to her and I thought the dated language might get in the way). She loved it and now I plan to purchase two copies; one for her and one for my 12 year old son. The book jacket decribed the book as a cross between Flatland and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I would have described it as a cross between Flatland an The Phantom Tollbooth, but, no matter. It definitely provides food for thought for any reasonably inquisitive child; and may provide more for a child already interested in mathematics.
I had read several biographies of famous scientific or mathematical type people who credited Bell's "The Men of Science" as sparking their initial interest in math. I was searching for something more appropriate for a young girl. While this wasn't ideal in that regard (e.g. there's a mention of the fact that their aren't many women in "Number Heaven" with a half-hearted apology that this was changing), I do believe that this can at least serve as kindling for a later fire of interest.
Each chapter takes place in a dream between the books protagonist (Robert) and his "Number Devil"; a sort of less than sainthood guru status. Each dream takes on a different example of mathematical interest, primarily from Number Theory. Should be of interest to children from six to sixteen. The protagonist is twelve.
Highly recommended.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
Crossing the story Alice in Wonderland with a small, red, fiery-tempered devil with a passion for numbers gives you The Number Devil, a perfect tale with funny and curious characters.
Robert hates math, and he gets irritated because his math teacher doesn't allow calculators in class. In addition to that, he has peculiar dreams all the time. Then, one night, completely out of the blue, he dreams about a Number Devil, who takes him away to a fantastic world of numbers. Robert learns all about different mathematical ideas and concepts in a fun way. Over the course of 12 different nights, Robert learns about simple math ideas like factorials, fractions, the importance of zero, and the idea of infinity. But Robert's adventures don't stop there; Robert also learns about more complex things like triangle numbers, Fibonacci numbers, imaginary numbers, and irrational numbers. The Number Devil makes up funny terms in order to explain these to Robert. Square roots are called "rutabagas," prime numbers are "prima donnas," squaring becomes "number hopping," the Fibonacci sequence is called "the Bonacci numbers, " and factorials are named "vrooms."
Did you know that you can take any even number larger than two and find two prime numbers that add up to it? The Number Devil presents different mathematical ideas to Robert, using funny things like furry calculators and coconuts. Even Robert uses what he learns in his dreams in class. For example, the Number Devil uses coconuts to show Robert what triangular numbers are. He uses the coconuts to make triangles on the ground, and he comes up with the first ten triangular numbers: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, and 55. Next, he comes up with a little rule for triangular numbers: Any number greater than 1 can be the sum of two or three triangle numbers.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By BPM on February 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am nine years old. It was a good book. I like that it was about adventure and math and a story and you could do activities from the book. I liked the triangle numbers, the prima-donna numbers, Bonacci. I especially liked going to number hell and meeting all the number devils, and seeing the imaginative guy and the funny drinking glasses. I liked that Pascal's triangle had so many interesting things you could do with it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Number Devil is one of the best books I have ever read. I am only 11 years old and even though it explored mathematical theories, I thought it was an amazing novel which was unputdownable. Robert is the main character in the story, and each night he dreams of the number devil. The number devil teaches Robert different mathematical aspects in a way which is simple to understand. Most of my maths class at school has read it and they also agree that it's a great book. I highly reccomend this for anyone from 10 plus.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Hank Waddles on November 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In a children's book reminiscent of The Phantom Tollbooth, the reader is taken along on a magical journey of mathematical discovery. Robert is a twelve-year-old boy who detests math, mainly because his math teacher, Mr. Bockel, is incredibly boring. To the rescue comes the Number Devil, a creature who visits Robert in a series of twelve dreams. During each dream the Number Devil explains different mathematical mysteries and reveals the beauty and simplicity of numbers. In the end, both Robert and the reader gain a new appreciation for math.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By starlight_ha on December 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book for the first time not quite a year ago, and I loved it! Now I'm 13, and just recently lent the book to my gr. 8 math teacher-who thought it was amazing. This is a cute approach to challenging math topics. Now I'm doing a book report on The Number Devil and just want to say that this book is not only a wonderful novel with well developped characters, but a wonderful teaching tool and learning book. A fantastic mix between a text book and a novel with some humour thrown in. I love it!
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