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You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters [Paperback]

Richard Evan Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Jan 2010
Using a unique teaching tool designed to motivate kids to learn, this volume visually explores the concepts of factoring and the role of prime and composite numbers. The playful and colorful monsters are designed to give children (and even older audiences) an intuitive understanding of the building blocks of numbers and the basics of multiplication. The introduction and appendices can also help adult readers answer questions about factoring from their young audience. The artwork is crisp and creative and the colors are bright and engaging, making this volume a welcome deviation from standard math texts.

CRC Press Author and NPR's Math Guy Keith Devlin spoke with Scott Simon about how the book makes finding prime numbers fun.

"This is one of the most amazing math books for kids I have ever seen…," Devlin says. "Great colors, it's wonderful, and yet because [Schwartz] knows the mathematics, he very skillfully and subtly embeds mathematical ideas into the drawings."


Frequently Bought Together

You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters + 2 X 2 = Boo!: A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories + How Big is a Million? (Usborne Picture Storybooks)
Price For All Three: 29.74

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press (23 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568815786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568815787
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 18.3 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

Another enjoyable math book for younger kids is You Can Count on Monsters by Richard Evan Schwartz. Counting plus monsters = awesomeness.
—Andrea Pyros, "Stop the Summer Slide: How to keep your kids from falling behind after school lets out," The RetailMeNot Insider, May 2012

Math is no monster in the clever hands of Richard Evan Schwartz, a math professor at Brown University. With logic and oodles of humor, he makes primes and composites perfectly clear.
The Sacramento Bee, March 28, 2011

This is one of the most amazing math books for kids I have ever seen … Great colors, it’s wonderful, and yet because [Schwartz] knows the mathematics, he very skillfully and subtly embeds mathematical ideas into the drawings.
—Keith Devlin, NPR and Stanford University

This delightful book is a result of the author's desire to teach his daughters about primes and factorization. ... The whole thing is a lot of fun. The book is well produced and nice to look at.
—Fernando Q. Gouvea, MAA Reviews, March 2010

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 4-8. 
Publishers Weekly, March 2010

Intended for elementary-age children, You Can Count on Monsters first explains the basic ideas of multiplication, prime and composite numbers, and factoring. Then for each number, from one through 100, the book’s left-hand pages depict the number broken down into its prime factors using dots and factor trees, and on the facing page, there is a playful monster that relates to the number. The monsters are designed to help children understand the building blocks of numbers. Each prime number is represented by a different monster. ... For each composite number, the scene depicted involves the monsters for its prime factors. ... Young readers can have fun figuring out how the monster is related to its prime numbers. 
—Katherine Federici Greenwood, Princeton Alumni Weekly Blog, March 2010

You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters by Richard Schwartz has won Best of Category for juvenile books at Bookbuilder's 53rd Annual New England Book Show. This show recognizes the year's most outstanding work by New England publishers, printers, and graphic designers. Judges praised the book's freshness, beautiful illustrations, and unique way of looking at numbers, and called it 'a book for kids and parents.' 
—Bookbuilders of Boston, May 2010

Prime numbers are like Antigone, Oedipus, or the Olympic Games: they already interested Euclid, Sophocles and Pindar, and they are always at the heart of the news ... Thus, after a near infinite number of books devoted [to them], a mathematician from the East Coast of the United States has recently published [something] new [about primes] ... [for] ... children ... most pages are strictly without text, with some figures and some very nice drawings. 
—Pierre De La Harpe, Images des mathématiques, June 2010

In this book, the old saying 'A picture is worth a thousand words' has been twisted around. ... There is very little reading in the book; the ideas will become clear from the pictures and drawings. Except perhaps for the very last part, the volume should be accessible for elementary school students, and even for some of them, the last part should not be too difficult. ... Because of the color and the emphasis on pictures, the book may even have some appeal to more advanced students and to adults who are 'afraid' of mathematics, because it doesn’t repeat what they may have already experienced, but instead brings out new ideas with little demand on prior knowledge. 
—Donald E. Myers, AAAS Science Books & Films, August 2010

About the Author

Richard Schwartz grew up in Los Angeles. He wore only blue clothes between the ages of 7 and 11. He spent his youth obsessively playing tennis until video games distracted him. He majored in math at UCLA, got a Ph.D in math from Princeton and is currently a professor at Brown University, with research interests in geometry, topology, and dynamics.He likes to do mathematical experiments on the computer and then find proofs for the results he discovers. Rich was an Invited Speaker at the 2002 International Congress of Mathematicians, a Guggenheim Fellow in 2003, and a Clay Research Scholar in 2009. He is the author of a number of books, including Spherical CR Geometry and Dehn Surgery, Outer Billiards on Kites, Man Versus Dog, and The Extra Toaster, among others. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Barrington, Rhode Island. In his spare time, he listens to music, writes comic books, thinks about future technologies, cycles on the bike path near his house, walks on the beach, or plays with his children.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My son loves this 30 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
He's 2, but is obsessed with numbers so this is perfect for him. It's fun, and the numbers are comprehensible but there are plenty of extra layers to the book. Very stimulating on the fascinating patterns in numbers; really brings home the visual reality of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!! 28 May 2010
By A. Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading the reviews and the sneak peaks here on Amazon, I was expecting a great book from Mr. Schwartz. What I did not expect however, was how absolutely brilliant it was going to be! What Schwartz does with the monsters to teach about prime numbers is both beautiful and ingenious.

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)!
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scared of math 23 Mar 2010
By Em Byrd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
These monsters will not scare you away from math but help you to embrace it. Wonderful book to teach anyone about primes, multiplication, factors and factor trees, factorials and introduce a proof to you using factorials to show that primes and thus numbers go on forever. Love the monsters ... love the book.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and accessible introduction to real math 23 Feb 2010
By Math Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great way to introduce kids to prime numbers, in a fun and enjoyable way. I had a great time figuring out the pictures with my kids, with my 5 year old figuring out how to multiply after a going through a few monsters. I used it in a class of 7 and 8 year olds to teach them about prime numbers and they've been discussing the prime monsters ever since.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Award Winner 17 May 2010
By P. Zuckerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had the pleasure of discovering this book at the 53rd Annual New England Book Show, presented by Bookbuilders of Boston, where I served as a judge for the Children's category. This book stood out for its colorful and magical presentation of numbers for children and parents alike. I only wish this book had been around when my kids were young. They would have devoured every page, night after night, and fed their joy of numbers and design.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much needed topic! 14 May 2010
By C. M. Woodworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Schwartz presented the topic of prime numbers in a fun and creative way! This was a much needed topic in math literacy. He managed to capture the prime number monsters in colorful drawings that challenge the imagination while at the same time teach this critically important concept. Well done!
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