Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra by David A. Adler

Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra
by David A. Adler
illustrated by Edward Miller
Holiday House, 2011
ISBN: 9780823422890
The reviewer received a review copy of the book from the Southern Maine Library District's examination collection.

Being a CYBILS judge has brought a number of books to my attention that I might have missed. One of those books nominated in the nonfiction picture book category if perfect for today.

Kids love Halloween! What’s not to love? There's candy corn, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and scary stories. David Adler’s has a new nonfiction picture book just in time for Halloween. Set in a haunted house, Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra follows Mandy and Bill as they encounter algebraic equations involving ravens, bats, black cats and skeletons. Igor, the caretaker of the haunted house, provides tips to help the children solve each problem. Adler uses the example of a seesaw to represent an equation showing readers that each side must be balanced. New concepts are described in an kid-friendly language that makes algebraic concepts such as “mystery number” and “variable” accessible to young readers.

Miller’s deep blue, dark green, and black illustrations are perfect for the story and the Halloween theme. The goofy expressions on the skeletons’ faces and large eyes on the birds and cats make the “spooky” story non-threatening to youngsters. Directions are provided in the back for how to make your own scale using a coat hanger.

Mystery Math will attract kids looking for a good Halloween story, and teachers will be want to share it as a read aloud in math classes.

Other Math Books by David Adler and Edward Miller
Money Madness
Fun with Roman Numerals
Time Zones
Working with Fractions

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