A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
MATH FOR SMARTY PANTS promises a commonsense way of tackling basic math problems including logic, arithmetic, statistics, and geometry. This overview volume is jam-packed with kid-friendly activities that can be done using everyday objects such as cards, pennies, pencils, and notebooks, but a lackluster presentation diminishes its value.
Is it any good?
Full of useful exercises, MATH FOR SMARTY PANTS gamely takes on an almost impossible mission: endearing math to kids who fear it, hate it, or want nothing to do with it. It is not a skills text. It is jam-packed with solid math lessons packaged as tricks, jokes, and games, and it will be most useful to readers who will soon encounter these subjects in school or are already having a problem with them. Readers in either camp probably will need some adult help, encouragement, or insistence to work through the activities.
The book's dense design -- thick text blocks with dark ink illustrations -- results in a monotonous look that may bore already dubious readers. Despite its visual limitations, the book has other highlights. The "Math Trickery" chapter contains several activities kids can do on their own and should get a kick out of, using calculators to perform "magic."