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Math Appeal


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Bright, whimsical illustrations and clever rhymes introduce challenging exercises. The verses are not particularly memorable, but they present the problems-how squares on a kite can be added quickly or peas in a pod grouped-with hints for their solutions. My kite flies high, my kite flies free, /My kite just landed in a tree!/I was busy counting squares, /Now my kite is stuck up there./How many squares? Let me see, /It's best to add diagonally! Teaching guides appear at the back of the book, and not all of the strategies for problem solving are obvious. In a note, Tang states that his goal is to encourage clever, creative thinking, and the questions posed do that. This book will engage readers' visual and auditory senses and may be enjoyed one-on-one or in classroom settings.--School Library Journal, February 2003

The team behind the series of Mind-Stretching Math Riddles, which began with The Grapes of Math, continues with Math Appeal by Greg Tang, illus. by Harry Griggs. Each riddle presents a problem (e.g., Boston Pea Party posits: A pea would find it rather odd, / To be alone inside a pod./ They like to hang out with their friends, / For them the party never ends!/ Can you count up all the peas?/ With 11's it's a breeze!) and suggests a way to solve it. Griggs's illustrations prompt readers to look for symmetries and patterns.--Publishers Weekly, Januar 20, 2003 Discovering patterns in groups of objects to discover their total number is Tang's forte, and here he is as engaging as ever, even when his examples don't necessarily make intuitive-or, for that matter, common-sense. Each two-page spread provides the reader with a dazzlingly colored image of a number of objects-honeycomb cells, jalape-o peppers, ladybug spots-and a little rhyming ditty that sets the scene and provides a hint on how to solve the addition problem. Most often the reader is asked to discern some pattern to make the sum more manageable or how to use subtraction to make finding the sum easier, as when adding rows of starfish with gaps in their ranks: How many starfish are in view? / This is all you have to do. / Instead of counting one by one, / Just subtract and you'll be done. (An answers and explanations page is included.) Tang's counterintuitive examples are less successful, as in counting raindrops in a rainbow by counting them within the arc of each color group rather than in the more obvious, and simpler, straight lines passing through the arc. Nonetheless, it is another take on how to get the job done-it's all in the seeing. Best of all, Tang makes play out of math and the problem-solving riddles keep math-suspicious minds from wandering and maybe even from clogging.--Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002

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