The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure Paperback – 4 Sep 2000
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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
"* '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" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Enzenberger seeks to demystify mathematics and to support and encourage children [I would judge aged 9 and over] who find difficulty in this area of study. His method is to focus on a boy, Robert, and a devil who are brought together through a series of dreams that uncover the mathematical relationships and ideas that surround them [and us].
There is a balance to be drawn between content and presentation, and the needs of each child will be different. However, I can envisage this book being very useful to parents who want to work with their children in advance of their mathematical studies so that difficulties can be identified at the earliest possible stage and appropriate remedial action undertaken. Its secondary aim is to instill in children an abiding interest in mathematical manipulations.
The weakness is that the very children who could most benefit are those least likely to have access to this book for economic or social reasons. If only children and parents who share problems with mathematics could work together and so reinforce one another’s progress. Since children will respond to different stories, there is an opportunity for schools and enlightened parents to supplement and complement these stories with others better suited to the requirements of each individual child.Read more ›
I'm a primary teacher and bought this for my library and most of the kids love the storyline and have enjoyed learning through it, and have asked lots of brilliant questions to further their understanding!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We are still reading this together. My son is 7 so a bit young but he is still interested and pages through to look at the patterns of numbers. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Angie
Brilliant book. Got me all interested in numbers and number patterns again. My 10 year son loved it too.Published 15 months ago by K Tang
We found this in the library, and my friend read it and now I'm depressedPublished 17 months ago by Robert A.
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 alikePublished on 27 Mar. 2014 by Alex