- Age Range: 11 - 15 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 08
- Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Picador (August 18, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805062998
- ISBN-13: 978-0805062991
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure Paperback – May 1, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
But there is one big problem. For whatever reason - the author uses strange/unusual words to describe names, properties, operations an other terminology referring to numbers. For example he will call prime numbers, prima donnas; square roots, rutabagas; squares, number hopping - to name only a few. Such terminology can be annoying for adults who are familiar with the correct nomenclature; confusing and not advisable for children who are learning about numbers.
At first I wondered whether the incorrect terminology could not be the result of a bad translation. But I abandoned the idea: Fibonacci is Fibonacci in any language, and not the Bonacci used by the author. Why on earth would anyone want to call the well known mathematician Bonacci?
Basically the book is very interesting, but would be much more useful, if all the “strange” words were replaced by the correct terminology used for numbers. It is surprising that only a few of the reviewers seemed upset about this.
Enzensberger accurately illustrates the feelings that many young students possess about math. Children often do not understand the importance of math in our world. They become overwhelmed with increasingly complex numbers, causing confusion and discouraging them from pursuing more math. This book combats these attitudes and shows readers how exciting numbers can be, from Fibonacci numbers to primes, irrationals, transcendentals, Pascal’s Triangle, and more. Robert is a very relatable character, someone who makes comments that almost all of us have made about math at some point in our educational experience. Despite not always being the easiest to get along with, the number devil represents the importance of having someone to inspire students and challenge them with interesting problems.
As a student of math myself, I did not enjoy the number devil using different words to describe familiar mathematical concepts. Prime numbers are referred to as prima donnas, square roots as rutabagas, factorials as vrooms, and so on. In addition, the book misses a key opportunity to teach students about some of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever seen, such as Gauss, Bernoulli, Euler, Archimedes, Cantor, and Fibonacci. Instead, Enzensberger describes these pioneers in strange ways with different silly names, perhaps in an attempt to oversimplify the book. With that being said, a wide variety of mathematical topics are explored throughout the book, making it a fantastic choice for any age range. It is simple enough to be understood by the youngest readers, but still covers material that many college graduates may not even be familiar with. The book can either be used as a teaching tool, or as an outside read with the ability to display various applications of math. In my opinion, it works perfectly as the latter. With vibrant, colorful illustrations of number gardens, Fibonacci rabbits, never-ending numbers, Pascal’s Triangle, and Plantonic solids to help explain some of the more difficult topics, The Number Devil is sure to keep readers engaged.
I would highly recommend this book to parents or teachers that want to get their kids reading mathematical literature and interested in the marvelous world of numbers, although it is a fun, quick, and easy read for all. Probably ideal for young teenagers, but it can be just as enjoyable for adults with any level of prior math knowledge. The Number Devil excels as at being a fun fiction read, while also having the potential to teach and be a strong educational tool.
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. Try 83, for example. It is the sum of 10 + 28 + 45.
Not only does the Number Devil show Robert different math principles, but he takes him to Number Paradise, and there Robert meets different mathematicians like Carl Friedrich Gauss (of course, the Number Devil makes up names for the mathematicians as well, so Gauss is called Professor Horrors), Georg Cantor (Professor Singer), and Leonhard Euler (Owl). Robert also meets Felix Klein (Dr. Happy Little), and he sees the famous `Klein Bottle' (the Little Bottle). The Number Devil shows how one can't tell the inside of this object from the outside!
I thought this book was very enjoyable and funny. The illustrations were amusing and the characters were hilarious. I especially liked the Number Devil himself. I would give the book an eight out of ten only because some of the concepts described were very elementary, and it became boring for me at times. Overall, I didn't learn a lot, but the little tidbits of information and the more complex ideas were interesting. I would recommend this book for all ages as a good read aloud or for a bedtime reading book. Happy reading!