Been reading (with Ben) – math books


Around Thanksgiving Ben discovered the Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne. I purchased the first 28 from the scholastic book club from his school. Grandma and grandpa rounded out the collection of 38 books for his birthday. They are finished, until March 25th  when book #39 comes out. I must say though it has been fun to see Ben excitement with this series, I am happy to put Jack and Annie on the shelf for a little break (and I didn’t even read them all, Josh read lots of bedtime chapters and Ben read lots of them on his own during ‘naptime’). Anyway, it was time to find something new to move onto…

We have sampled a few books from other series (A to Z mysteries and  The boxcar children), but they have not seemed to capture him in the way that the Magic Treehouse books did… so I asked him what he wanted to be reading and he asked me to pull some tried and true math books off the shelf. Stuart J Murphy’s Math start books have been a favorite of Ben for quite some time. We started with Elevator Magic,which I originally picked up because of the boys love of elevators, not math  around 2 years old. in the last six months Less Than Zero has been a favorite. We have others and have sampled many from the library, They are good books. They have both taught and helped ben rehearse many math concepts that he now plays with fluidly. But as any parent knows, sometimes you just need something new.

So we are now playing with a new set of math books. Fun enough to be considered entertainment and yet challenging enough to still be engaging for a little mind that craves numbers.

G is for googol by David Schwartz This is an alphabet book of math concepts. Don’t let the ABC format fool you, is book is meant for older kids and deals with some sophisticated math concepts. However, it is written in an engaging and accessible manner. For example, Ben and jrh have read about the Abacus, the Fibonacci sequence, Rhombicosideodecahedron (which Ben pronounced on the first try surprisingly well) and the Mobius Strip. Ben seems intrigued and has asked for this book repeatedly and he has been sleeping with it as well. It has inspired jrh to make mobius strips with ben and generally has been a good purchase – I would recommend it.

The Grapes of Math and Math for All Seasons by Greg Tang This guy have a ton of books. I picked two that seemed interesting and they didn’t disappoint. These books present kids with a visual math problem accompanied by a riddle. The riddle gives them a clue as to how to solve the problem. Many of the problems deal with finding ways to quickly find the sum of a math problem using grouping rather than counting. It encourages looking at problems to figure out the best way to approach them rather than just relying on memorization and formulas. We have not spent tons of time with these yet but the 10 or so riddles we have done so far have been interesting.

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka If you like their other goofy, well written and illustrated (by Lane Smith) books, you will love this one as well. The message is simply that math is all around us. . . I guess for kids who are math adverse this might be an empowering book to  combat math phobia. But for those who love math already, it is just a silly and entertaining book on a favorite subject. A couple of night ago at bedtime, I heard ben giggling over this one.

I just love new books.