The Grapes of Math: Mind Stretching Math Riddles

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9780439210409: The Grapes of Math: Mind Stretching Math Riddles

Tang, a lifelong lover of math, shares the techniques that have helped him solve problems in the most creative ways. Briggs's vibrant and inviting illustrations create a perfect environment for these innovative games.

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Review :

How is it possible to count a complicated pattern of strawberry seeds or grapes on a vine or camel humps--in a blink of an eye? If children can open their minds to new ways of perceiving math, anything is possible! Greg Tang shows readers creative ways to use patterns and combinations of numbers to solve math puzzles quickly and effectively. Rather than laboriously counting 24 mushroom slices on a pizza, Tang suggests: "Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count twice." And in adding the number of dots on a fan: "Instead of seeing groups of threes, / Count by fives and it's a breeze!"

Every two-page spread features cheerful computer-generated art by Harry Briggs, depicting rows of camels, beaches full of seashells, and vines laden with grapes. Tang's witty little accompanying verses tickle the fancy even as they challenge the mind. Guided by hints in the verses, readers find solutions to each math riddle, by looking "askew" to find a pattern, subtracting in order to add, or adding numbers that have easy sums before clustering them to add in groups. Solutions and explanations are provided in the back of the book. With a little creativity and common sense, as opposed to formulas and memorization, Tang believes that all kids can do well in math--and have fun while they're at it. Readers of The Grapes of Math are already ahead of the game. (Ages 6 to 10) --Emilie Coulter

Review :

This genuinely clever math book uses rhyming couplets and riddles, as well as visual cues to help the reader find new was to group numbers for quick counting. It's a return to number sets, with non of those boring parentheses and signs. Here the rhyme gives a clue to the new ways of grouping numbers. For example: "Mama mia, pizza pie, / How many mushrooms do you spy? / Please don't count them, ti's too slow, / This hot pie was made to go / Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count it twice." A quick look at the pizza, and the reader can see each slice has the same number of mushrooms. count by threes for half the pie and double it. Each rhyme is given a double-page spread. The extra-large, brightly colored images leap off the page but never distract from the author's intent. Some riddles are very challenging, but the author provides all the solutions in the back. Once the reader has seen the answers, the strategy is obvious and can be applied to other situations. Great fun for math enthusiasts and creative thinkers, this might also teach adults some new tricks. A winning addition.---Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 1, 2000

Sixteen rhymed riddles invite readers to discover shortcuts to finding the number of items in double-spread scenes. In each case grouping is the key--finding a pattern among related items and occasionally adding to or subtracting from the total. There's some genuine higher-order mathematical thinking involved here, as children call upon intuition, observation, and strategizing as well as reliable old "math facts" to calculate rather than count. "Knowing Dice" shows six pairs of dice (two rows of double sixes, ones, and threes) and provides the hint, "Before you start please look around,/Adding's fast when tens are found." It suddenly becomes obvious that it will be quicker to group six/one/three four times than to point and count each dot. The "riddles" themselves never amount to more than rhymed instructions, and the workmanlike computer art, which does provide concise diagrams for counting, is flat and bland. Consistent repetition of the same math strategy works well here, though and with appended answers to boast, readers who start out slowly will have lots of opportunity to build aptitude and speed.---Bulletin of the Center for the Chidren's Books, March 2001

Picture puzzles accompanied by clues in verse encourage readers to embark on some inspired problem solving. Each riddle and an illustration are set on a two- page spread. The goofy rhymes set a humorous tone. Through patterns, grouping, and creative thinking, the problems to be solved will have children adding, subtracting, and multiplying. Throughout, Tang sneaks in useful visual strategies that can be used in solving other computation problems. Bright, appealing computer images add to the playful nature of the title. The solutions provided at the back of the volume include a miniature color reproduction of each picture and a clearly diagrammed answer along with text outlining the process employed to arrive at that answer. A fun addition to classroom and library shelves.---School Library Journal, March 2001

"Be careful! But don't just add what you first see. A better way there's sure to be." In this fun, creative book, the author has integrated bright, colorful, and eye-appealing computer-generated pictures with clever riddles in rhyme, plays on words, and math, to stretch and open the mind and develop problem-solving skills. Readers are encouraged to look beyond the obvious method of computation (merely counting the objects) and to try other, less obvious ways to find the answer to each riddle. Attractive, two-page spreads showcase each of the three to four double-line riddles, which organize subjects and objects such as ants, gopher holes, fishes, fruits, and foods into symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns and groups. Solving the riddle just may require a little creative thinkin

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Tang, Greg
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Greg Tang
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