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Cindy Neuschwander is the author of the Sir Cumference series, and she is also a third-grade teacher. Although she has never been trapped inside a pyramid, she has explored some in Egypt. Ms. Neuschwander lives with her family in Northern California. Bryan Langdo is the illustrator of several books for young readers. He is a big fan of mummy movies and lives in New Jersey with his wife. Together, Ms. Neuschwander and Mr. Lango have created three Adventures in Math picture books for Henry Holt. Patterns in Peru was published in Spring 2007, and Pastry School in Paris will be out in Spring 2009.
Gr 1-4-Matt and Bibi go to Egypt with their scientist parents in search of an ancient pharaoh's mummy. When the siblings are accidentally shut in the pyramid, they decide to explore. Using hieroglyphic clues, they discover that the path to the mummy is delineated by "faces," the flat surfaces of geometric solids. As they find either pictures of solid shapes or the objects themselves, the twins count the faces of the shapes and are guided through the pyramid by relating their answers to the hieroglyphic clues. They find the mummy and a map indicating the way out. Although this book attempts to provide an introduction to solid geometry, the information is not clearly presented. The colorful impressionist cartoons depict the various shapes discussed in the text, but they are not labeled. The plot itself is a stretch: before they leave for Egypt, Bibi says she hopes to learn about hieroglyphics, but as soon as she arrives there, she is expert enough to interpret complex messages. An endnote lists some good activities to help children learn about geometric solids, but the story will leave readers more confused than enlightened. Try Stuart J. Murphy's Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes (HarperCollins, 2001) and Tana Hoban's Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres (Greenwillow, 2000) for better introductions to this topic.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"The illustrations, by Bryan Langdo, are bright and clever, and there's a straightforward lesson in geometry built into the promise of Egypt. . . . very young Egyptologists will enjoy the archaeological atmosphere." --The New York Times Book Review