Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic fun and easy intro to some tricky concepts, 25 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Maths: A Book You Can Count On (Paperback)
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This book is part of a new series of books which aim to take traditionally "hostile" subjects such as maths and make them "cool" and accessible. The concept is brave, admirable and ambitious. Each double page sets out to introduce and explain a concept in about 200 words - quite a challenge! We're not talking about simple addition and subtraction, but "real" maths like Pi and algebra that would appeal to age 9+

The text is on the left hand side and there is a bright colourful drawing on the right hand side. The drawings are simple and greatly help to illustrate the concept being discussed on the opposing page. The text is very well written in a punchy style that reads more like 9 years+ comic fiction rather than a maths textbook, but it still manages to get across to a child a good, basic understanding of concepts that many adults don't understand, or if they do understand, would be very hard pressed to explain so succintly.

Each mathematical concept is introduced as a "first person character" that the reader can visualise. So you'll get something like "I'm Pi and I'm so amazing and wonderful... etc". At first this might seem a little patronising or condescending, or trying too hard to appeal to kids, but ultimately this approach did actually work with my 9 year old son, so the proof, as they say, was in the pudding. My son has enjoyed reading this book, and it has opened his eyes to a whole range of mathematical ideas, and has put into clearer focus other things that he learned at school.

However, I have to be strict with this book and mark it down to 4 stars because the book lacks the depth of examples that we all know are necessary to ingrain maths concepts into a human brain. It is slightly frustrating to have such a fantastic introduction to maths, and yet little depth beyond that. Ideally this book should be followed by a much bigger book written in an equally punchy and accessible style but taking each of the concepts to a greater depth and giving more examples of calculations using the concepts. I very much hope that this series is expanded along those lines.
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3.8 out of 5 stars (20 customer reviews)
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