THE HISTORY OF COUNTING by Denise Schmandt-Besserat

THE HISTORY OF COUNTING

Age Range: 8 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

PLB 0-688-14119-6 A well-researched, intriguing account of how counting has evolved. Schmandt-Besserat recounts how the Paiela, who cultivate orchards in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, “count by pointing to parts of their body. . . . The number 1 is called ‘left little finger,’ 11 is ‘left neck,’ 16 is ‘right ear,’ etc.” The Veddas of Sri Lanka “count without numbers,” collecting pebbles to indicate “how many.” She also painstakingly charts the long evolution of counting through abstract counting, the use of ten digits, and the advantages of Arabic numerals over the older systems. Her rigorous, scientific approach to the subject ensures that readers will never take the counting system for granted again. The full-color illustrations make history beautifully visual, while a glossary sets forth concrete definitions for readers to peruse. (index) (Nonfiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-14118-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999




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