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MYSTERY MATH by David A. Adler


A First Book of Algebra

by David A. Adler & illustrated by Edward Miller

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2289-0
Publisher: Holiday House

Adler and Miller have once again turned out a thorough explanation of a math concept in a neat package (Fractions, Decimals, and Percents, 2010, etc.).

This time they tackle the much-feared topic of algebra, starting with the basics and working up from there. Throughout, Adler introduces and then consistently uses mathematical vocabulary. He begins with a balanced seesaw as a simile for an algebraic equation, then leads readers from simple equations (4 + X = 5) that they can solve just by looking at equations in which they have to perform each of the four orders of operation. Easy-to-understand mathematical notations guide readers through the solution to each problem, which are originally posed as word problems involving two children, Mandy and Billy, and Igor, the caretaker of a haunted house. The Halloween theme echoes the idea of algebra as the solving of mathematical mysteries, and Miller’s digital artwork ups the ante with a palette strong on blacks, dark blues and lime greens. Bats, black cats and skeletons abound, and Igor himself has green skin à la Frankenstein's monster. Backmatter includes instructions on making a balance scale and weights from common household materials.

A solid foundation for beginners or re-teaching tool for those who are struggling. (Math picture book. 6-10)