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Math Appeal: Mind-Stretching Math Riddles Hardcover – February 1, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-Bright, whimsical illustrations and clever rhymes introduce challenging exercises. The verses are not particularly memorable, but they present the problems-how squares on a kite can be added quickly or peas in a pod grouped-with hints for their solutions. "My kite flies high, my kite flies free,/My kite just landed in a tree!/I was busy counting squares,/Now my kite is stuck up there./How many squares? Let me see,/It's best to add diagonally!" Teaching guides appear at the back of the book, and not all of the strategies for problem solving are obvious. In a note, Tang states that his goal is "to encourage clever, creative thinking," and the questions posed do that. This book will engage readers' visual and auditory senses and may be enjoyed one-on-one or in classroom settings.
Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-4. Tang, whose upbeat math books include The Grapes of Math (2001), offers children another playful experience with arithmetic. It seems misleading to call the rhymes "riddles," as that implies some twist of humor in the answer. However, the colorful, digital artwork, which stretches across each double-page spread, creates a cheerful setting for the challenges. On the left-hand page, groups of objects are aligned in a way that will make counting them easier. On the right, a rhyme sets out the problem to be solved and hints at a path toward its solution. One example involves grouping pods of five or six peas into sets of eleven peas: "A pea would find it rather odd, / To be alone inside a pod . . . Can you count up all the peas? / With 11's [sic] it's a breeze!" Some children will find it quicker to devise their own strategies or just to count the objects than to figure out the hint and apply it to the solution, but those who persevere will learn a useful approach: grouping objects as an aid to counting them. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
The book works on multiple levels. Kids on the younger end of the age range may use it as a straight counting and basic pattern book. The bright, attractive illustrations on each page will keep them engaged. Kids on the older end of the range will quickly pick up Tang's trick for grouping and rearranging objects to make finding a sum easier. They'll have a chance to use not just addition and subtraction, but also simple multiplication.
The problems in the book represent a substantial range of difficulty. Some patterns will be easy to find, some a bit more challenging. This mom was grateful for the answer key when it came to two particularly difficult puzzles. Highly recommend!
This book was recommended to use with 4th graders by an elementary teacher. I bought it for future reading for my second grader and left it lying around to see if it would peak her interest. Before long she was perusing the book and asking insightful questions. This ia a great gateway book for kids advancing in mathematics.