MATHEMAGIC!

NUMBER TRICKS

Stun friends and family members by guessing secret numbers and doing painless long division. Dice and card tricks and finger multiplication are among the fascinating tricks potential mathemagicians will learn to perform. But Colgan goes beyond the ordinary by giving an in-depth, easily understandable explanation of the math behind each trick, as well as any history that might be applicable, too. Not only will readers learn how to multiply large numbers in their heads, they will learn why this trick works and that the early Egyptians used the very same method. Prime numbers, Napier’s bones, division dowels, the binary number system and factoring are just a few areas they will explore. Kids won’t stop with just learning the tricks—the emphasis is on performing them, and the author does a great job of giving tips for a magical performance that is not only believable but entertaining as well. Backmatter includes a glossary, but the language used in the definitions is more advanced than that used in the text, and the terms used within the entries are not always themselves defined. Kurisu’s illustrations emphasize the performance side of mathemagic, showing potential performers how to successfully set up or follow through with specific tricks. Colgan makes math cool, and that speaks for itself. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-425-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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ONCE UPON A MARIGOLD

From the Marigold Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Cold indeed is the heart not made warm by this bubbly fairy-tale romance. Raised by a kindly forest troll, Christian knows little of the world beyond what he can see through his telescope, but gazing upon a nearby castle, he falls head over heels for Princess Marigold. What chance has he, though, as a (supposed) commoner? When at last he nerves himself to send her a message via carrier pigeon, she answers and the courtship is on—via “p-mail” at first, then, after he lands a job as a castle servant, face to face. Setting numerous fairy-tale conventions just a bit askew, Ferris (Of Sound Mind, 2001, etc.) surrounds her two smart, immensely likable teenagers, who are obviously made for each other, with rival suitors, hyperactive dogs, surprising allies, and strong adversaries. The most notable among the last is devious, domineering Queen Olympia, intent on forcing Marigold into marriage with a penniless, but noble, cipher. The author gets her commonsensical couple to “I Do” through brisk palace intrigue, life-threatening situations, riotous feasting, and general chaos; Queen Olympia gets suitable comeuppance, and the festivities are capped by the required revelation that Christian is actually heir to the throne of neighboring Zandelphia. Fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales will be in familiar territory here, as well as seventh heaven. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216791-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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