Multiplies the good times for young mathematicians.



A thorough introduction to understanding multiplication and division.

In this follow-up to Do Not Open This Math Book: Addition + Subtraction (2018), celebrated mathematician, writer, and actor McKellar returns to guide young readers through multiplication and division via a punny time-machine motif. Comic strips that introduce each section feature McKellar and her two companions (pessimistic Mr. Mouse returns and is joined by peppy Ms. Squirrel) traveling through humorous historical anecdotes that serve as jumping-off points for the math, sometimes in unexpected ways. The organizational flow is intuitive. Charts and visualizations are presented to help readers solve basic problems by understanding number relationships; then memorization tricks are given to help master times tables (some clever, some rhymed); finally, McKellar tackles more complicated concepts (the order of operations, or PEMDAS—with pandas; multidigit problems; and long division). The visuals throughout help in keeping the material so simple that even adults will be able to follow math pedagogy they didn’t learn but that’s currently being used in schools (and there’s a guide in the backmatter). The brilliant-through-simplicity textual explanations are easily accessible to independent readers, and the problem sets (“Game Time” sections in each chapter) are set up for readers to succeed. For extras and more math, McKellar points readers to the book’s website and to her more-advanced middle school book, Math Doesn’t Suck (2008).

Multiplies the good times for young mathematicians. (answer key, index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-93402-9

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Trivial but tantalizing.


From the Odd Science series

Fast facts about the human body and all its parts inside and out.

Illustrator Olstein has turned his Tumblr blog of science facts into a science-trivia series for young readers. This title offers a collection of info-bits about the human body. A table of contents reveals its organization. From atoms to bacteria, hair to feet, each of the 20 sections is covered in one or more spreads. Each spread includes one to four facts. The author’s choices are quirky and surprising: “Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid”; “Your lungs are not the same size”; “Besides primates and people, koalas are the only other animals to have unique fingerprints.” They’re usually accompanied by a short explanation, but he offers no sources. Graphically interesting illustrations in muted retro colors accompany each entry. Humans may be white, brown, or green. The clean lines and minimalist depictions make these look like posters, and they are both appealing and appropriate to both substance and audience. Some involve a bit of visual humor; a cat seems to be combing a woman’s hair; an ice cream cone has turned another woman blue. Other titles in this series publish simultaneously: Amazing Inventions, Incredible Creatures, and Spectacular Space. Libraries where the National Geographic Kids Weird but True series circulates well may find this similarly appealing.

Trivial but tantalizing. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3759-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Adequate science; inadequate art and plot.



From the Everyday Science Academy series

A picture book that explains the physics of waves.

Red Kangaroo, the protagonist of this story and the one whose questions propel the flimsy plot, relaxes on a beach and ponders the surf, then decides to ask Dr. Chris whether “waves ever stop.” Dr. Chris, a lab-coated white man with pale skin and rosy cheeks, answers this question and all the others that Red Kangaroo poses about waves. Throughout the story, Dr. Chris teaches Red Kangaroo about wavelength, electromagnetic waves, the visible light spectrum, microwaves, X-rays, and more. Many of the key terms appear in boldface type, and in the extensive backmatter, the glossary offers definitions of all of the terms discussed. There’s also a quiz to help readers check their learning as well as several hands-on activities, with illustrations, to get kids experimenting with waves themselves. Much more instructional than entertaining, this book, like Let’s Fly a Plane, a simultaneously publishing companion in Ferrie’s Everyday Science Academy series, would be suitable additions to science lessons but not likely pleasure reading. Furthermore, the poor-quality illustrations, with repeated depictions of a lecturing Dr. Chris showing barely any variation from spread to spread—or book to book, for that matter—help explain concepts but add nothing aesthetically.

Adequate science; inadequate art and plot. (Informational picture book. 8-10 )

Pub Date: June 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8058-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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