Friday, August 22, 2008


Author : Greg Tang

Ilustrated by Harry Briggs

Eureka ! This was the feeling of euphoria I had when I finished reading the book with my six year old son!

Here is a simple Math book for children, presented in beautiful verses and very attractive pictures. Noticing my son's penchant for numbers, I wanted to kindle his interest further and was on the lookout for some interesting and fun filled Maths books appropriate for his age. Chancing on some Maths books in our library, I randomly ordered this book without
having any idea about the contents. It has turned out to be the beginning of a great discovery - pointing me to more books by the same author for different age groups, making me crazily block all the books in our library by this author, web searching to read the reviews of all these books ! It is a long time since I fell madly in love with any of Sooraj's books :-).

Coming to Math Appeal, the book is meant for 7 to 10 age group as mentioned by Greg Tang. On each of the pages, there is a riddle on the right side and the colourful pictorial riddle on the left. The children have to find the count of whatever is the key topic in the riddle. It could be the spots on the lady bug, apples on a tree or the star fish in the sea. What Greg Tang tries to show the kids in this book, are the various methods of getting the count, rather than a simple counting by finger. It could be by pairing of similar types or grouping to get a sum of ten and then adding up easily all the tens, or finding some patterns which enable a quick addition. Sometimes it works faster if we add by grouping and then subtracting the odd ones. For each of the riddles, the best way to approach the problem is explained clearly in the last pages. Though my son is younger than the age group mentioned and just getting into two digit addition, he still thought it was fun and wanted to learn how to go about the riddles than simple counting by fingers.

Kids who are quite comfortable with two digit addition, will be able to really appreciate these methods. All these techniques will train the children to rely more on common sense and visual patterns that our eyes perceive, to solve problems eficiently !

A great book for children to enjoy maths and also for the parents who would like to teach their children in creative ways !

I was very impressed with the foreword in which Greg Tang writes --

What's the best way to foster a love for learning ? When we teach children to read, we share colourful picture books filledwith exciting stories. When we teach science, we conduct lively,hands on experiments that inspire curiosity and wonder.But what about math - is it possible to make math just as engaging and appealing to kids ? The answer is Yes ! I believe languageand art are the keys t making math more meaningful to children. Words and images have the power to communicate analyticalreasoning and insight and at the same time connect math to a world of things- nature, science, art and stories - that matter to kids.

1 comment:

Praba Ram said...

Amazing to read how the book helps children count in different ways - visual patterns, in particular. Looks like, Sooraj is one visually very talented kid in addition to being a lover of numbers...

I loved the Science and the Math picks you and Sathish have offered all of us. Very refreshing and inspiring, indeed! Can't wait for more of these...Keep 'em coming! I guess, he is stepping into non-fiction, these days.

Will certainly look out for this one. Thank you!

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