- Age Range: 8 and up
- Grade Level: 3 and up
- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 1 edition (January 23, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568815786
- ISBN-13: 978-1568815787
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 7.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters Paperback – January 23, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–8—This hybrid math/art book is both ambitious and imaginative. An introductory section explains the colored-dot configurations and factor trees for numbers 1 to 100, which appear on the verso of each spread. These factor trees are "all the way grown out" to the lowest common factors, or prime numbers. On the opposite page is a monster scene that represents the number. Schwartz has created a creature for each prime number: "Each monster has something about it that relates to its number, but sometimes you have to look hard (and count) to find it." Thus, the monster for 5 is a five-featured, five-pointed star, and the 13 monster sports a pink-and-white eye-patch with 13 segments. The illustration for 14 is a "7" monster eating a "2" monster. The "78" picture includes monsters representing 2, 3, and 13, the prime factors of that number. The pages are glossy black with flat, colorful abstractions. The author's claim, "The only thing you really need to know in order to enjoy this book is how to multiply whole numbers together, like 2 and 3," is an understatement; readers will need patience and an open, undaunted mind to deconstruct the monster scenes. This is a book for math lovers who want to have some fun. Challenge these students to create their own prime monsters and combinations. While the dot configurations and factor trees are less inventive, they provide a more concrete explanation of the math for the rest of us.—Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, New York
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This delightful book is the result of the author's desire to teach his daughters about primes and factorization. Apart from an introduction and some explanatory material in the back, it consists of one hundred double pages: on the left page is a number and that many dots, arranged into clusters that display its factorization. On the right page is a picture that represents the same information using the author's 'monsters,' which represent the prime numbers. --MAA
This compact, innovative book counts to 100 using prime numbers represented as monsters, each with identifying characteristics (two resembles a bee with two buggy eyes, and three is an angry-looking triangular creature). The book opens with explanations of multiplication, prime and composite numbers, and factor trees, then moves on to a list of numbers. Each prime number looks unique, while composite numbers are represented by scenes involving their prime monsters (eight is illustrated as three of the beelike twos, i.e., two times two times two. Readers may have difficulty deciphering the pictures, which come to resemble little works of abstract geometric art. But especially for creative learners, visualizing the roles each monster plays may lead to deeper number sense. Ages 4 to 8. --Publishers Weekly
My eight-year old granddaughter Natalie is just learning about multiplication and as we read through almost the whole book, she especially liked the 'special numbers' (primes) where a new shape appeared. At one point she paused and said, 'You never get two special numbers one right after the other.' I gave positive reinforcement for this, her first mathematical conjecture (not mentioning the one counterexample of 2 and 3). She's going to take the book to her second grade class. Every school library should have one. --Thomas Banchoff, former MAA President
Top customer reviews
I homeschool 3 boys of primary school age. Our oldest son is autistic and has an extreme aversion to math. Our second son is the complete opposite, devouring anything and everything numeric. He's followed by our youngest who needs a thrill to sit still. All of my boys LOVE this book! My oldest (who is *the one* who would benefit the most from reading it) shied away from it at first. He's a bright boy and knew all too fast that the book was teaching math, a subject in which he struggles so much with. Well, after listening and watching me read this book, and seeing both his mother and his younger brothers having so much fun as we all "played" along, he had to come over and join in. He loves it! My two younger boys are quite obsessed with it. I have to give them turns with it!.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a struggling learner/special needs child. With all of its benefits academically, I would (and will) buy the book for adults as well, if not just for the art work! It's amazing (and clever!) how Mr. Schwartz brings to life these numbers! As an adult who's also had an extreme aversion to math (my entire life) I can honestly say that Mr. Schwartz is the first person to claim that math can be fun, and then went on to prove it to me! What's more, is that he proved it to my child(ren)!
The concept of the book is teaching prime and composite numbers through colorful, geometrical monsters. It is written for any age, from preschool on up, and my students really appreciated it. They had a lot of fun looking at the monsters, spotting the prime monsters hidden inside the composite monsters, and describing what they saw. For example, one said the 20 monster looked like "two innocent two-monsters held in custody by evil nacho chips."
For fans of Singapore Math or number bonds in general, you will also appreciate how each number is represented with a number of dots, the numeral, and a multiplication number bond for composite numbers. All in all, it makes a powerful set of connections for students between numbers, images and fun.
The book covers numbers 1 through 100, with an introductory section that explains factoring, prime and composite numbers, and how the book is designed, all with colorful images and not too wordy. A section in the back has a further exploration of prime numbers. A wonderful enrichment for any math education!
For sure this is not a book to sit down with and read from front to back--it's the kind of book that any person, regardless of age, is going to browse through a bit, a few pages at a time. There is no "story" per se, but there's certainly a thread through the book as the monsters (the unique visual characters for each of the prime numbers) reappear later in combinations to represent larger numbers.
The monsters themselves are for the most part arbitrary, but along with the "grouped dots" page that accompanies each one, they do a fantastic job of presenting numbers in an engaging, visual way. Whole numbers represent countable quantities. It is important to reinforce that fact so that people (especially children) don't get hung up on / turned off by the use of _numerals_ (like 27, 81, etc.) to communicate numbers.