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The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure [Paperback]

Hans Magnus Enzensberger , Michael Henry Heim
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 7.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008
Twelve-year-old Robert hates his maths teacher. He sets his class boring problems and won't let them use their calculators. Then in his dreams Robert meets the Number Devil who brings the subject magically to life, illustrating with wit and charm a world in which numbers can amaze and fascinate, where maths is nothing like the dreary, difficult process that so many of us dread. "The Number Devil" knows how to make maths devilishly simple.

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The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure + What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? + Sir Cumference and the Knights of the First Round Table (A Math Adventure)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080537
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080530
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon 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 humour 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 maths 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.


"* 'Enzensberger has made Pythagoras the new Harry Potter...explaining mathematical concepts in a clear and highly original way' Sunday Business Post * 'Hopefully, Mr Enzensberger's enterprising and imaginative book will play its part in rescuing some of Britain's children from a lifetime phobia of maths' Daily Mail * 'Children old enough to have encountered fractions and square roots will be fascinated by this book, as will their parents' Sunday Times * 'More attractive than a textbook, an adult and child could work through this together' Irish Times"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for bright kids 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
My 8 year old loves this - she has always had a knack for seeing patterns and methods in numbers. The book has a lot of humour and some good illustrations. However, it is only likely to appeal to a child (or adult) who revels in numbers; it could be useful for teaching or illustrating one or two concepts (e.g. Fibonacci sequences) to classrooms or individual kids who might otherwise struggle to grasp the concepts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it 22 Oct 2009
I found this book just by chance and really believe that it's a treasure.

I got it for a student of mine who hates math. He's 12 years old, just like Robert in the story, really active, more interested in any computer game than anything having to have to do with school, generally doesn't understand a lot of mathematical concepts nor the need to study math.

We have begun to read the book together, chapter by chapter, each of us taking one of the parts - sometimes he's the devil and sometimes he's Robert, depending on the mood he's in. We have a lot of fun making up voices for the two characters, and he really pays attention and tries to follow the math concepts. We have a lot of fun screaming out the dialogue and bringing the scenes to life.

He's also fascinated by the illustrations which are captivating and original.

This boy, who would rather play soccer or video games than have anything to do with his studies, now asks to read the book, and is a bit more patient with his homework. I can't tell you what that means as a teacher - to have found something that works so well with a student. The original approach to basic math concepts is also a gem and he's being introduced to sophisticated math skills in a very nonchalant manner.

I strongly recommend trying the book and seeing if your child reacts well to it as well.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for those struggling with maths 11 Jan 2007
We were recommended this book for our son, who is gifted in maths and loves number problems and puzzles. I started reading it to him as a bedtime story a year or so ago and he would volunteer to go to bed just so we could get onto the next chapter! He's just finished re-reading it for himself and it remains a favourite.

It's quirky, introduces many mathematical concepts that I struggled to understand, and appeals to his sense of humour.

If you have a mathematically gifted young child, this book should have pride of place on his or her bookshelf.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maths as a story 20 April 2006
By hissy
An outstanding book for adults and children who think they hate maths. Teachers of arts subjects will find this a good way of getting into the subject. A brilliant idea, well executed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must have 23 Dec 2011
By Broberg
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From year 5 and above this is an absolute golden nugett. It totally engages the young reader while improving reading AND numeracy skills. Originally recommended by a retiring head teacher this book has been under my sons pillow for the last three years as he reads and rereads it. I have recomended it to all my pupils and often bought it as a present - Last one was just today
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definite hit 7 May 2011
My six year old who lives for maths loves this book. It has illustrations and would be great for a child who loves maths, or for a child who is less keen to get their imagination going. I think it is aimed at older children than my son, so don't let his age put you off. An older child would probably get more out of it and understand the story better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so 22 May 1999
By A Customer
Interesting at first but ultimately a little disappointing. The interaction between the child and the number devil gets stale and repetitive and the mathematics while beautiful is handled in an ordinary way despite the superficial bells and whistles.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 10 July 2001
By A Customer
This is an excellent book full of ideas and interesting ways to think about maths that children, teachers and parents will all enjoy and learn from. I did! In fact it rewakened an old interest in number theories, and pure maths. Superb!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I'm reading it to my 2 year old to help him get to sleep, but am finding it very enjoyable. A good read for mathematicians and non mathematicians alike
Published 28 days ago by Alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book, at the same time teaching maths
Great book, fun adventures and stories, while at the same time also teaches you about maths and different theories and formulae. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lisa So
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever
Appeals to kids who like reading, but not maths, and to those who prefer maths to reading. Loved the central characters and the mathematical topics handled. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Doris Siedentopf
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing success
I bought this for a Grandson who likes maths but it always take second place to his electronic "toys".
He read this book in just over a week and loved it! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Granpoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Number Theory for Kids: Fun and Exciting
Number theory is an exciting area of math that many schools do not teach, or do not teach enough, because they focus on basic math skills. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Warrior Princess
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but...
I liked the book, and it was very useful to use the book as teaching students fundamentals of mathematics.
However, there was some problem with the printing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Eric Song
4.0 out of 5 stars The Number Devil
A great maths book that provides a wealth of maths puzzles and problems. I can't wait to use it in class. Speedy delivery and in mint condition.
Published 11 months ago by Funky
4.0 out of 5 stars Maths Made Fun
A bit tricky to get into initially, but the reader enjoyed it in the end! Has some academic value, as well as entertainment.
Published 16 months ago by Amanda Philo Amanda Philo
4.0 out of 5 stars Maths can be fun!
This book makes maths fun, even for those little people who believe it to be a laborious trudge through treacle. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Lance Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Helps to inspire
My maths would have flourished earlier if I'd had this as a child. My ten-year old struggles with maths, but this got his interest up to the point where he was trying to explain... Read more
Published on 5 May 2010 by fat man on a bicycle
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