Use these reviews to help you find good literature to share with your students. Please add to the list of book reviews.
Add a new book to the list or add another review for one already listed. Please start your review with your initials in parentheses) For each book that you review, please include the following information:
  1. The name, author and isbn number of the book
  2. The math content found in the book
  3. The grade levels where you would find this content
  4. The setting and characters and enough information to make people want to read the book
Your rating -
1 if you would recommend this book because of its engaging story, mathematical content, and correct use of mathematics (include a comment to support this rating)TimmyTriangle.jpg

3 if you would not recommend the book because there is incorrect mathematics in the story or illustrations. (note some of the problems)

2 if you would recommend this book because of its mathematical content, and correct use of mathematics (include a comment to address the reason you did not give it a rating of 1 .**

Students can Write and Illustrate their own Books

Use the books below (I especially like to share the Sir Cumference Books) to jump-start a project that has students writing and illustrating their own story books like Timmy Triangle and the Amazing 3D Glasses by one of my students!

Navigate through the list: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  1. The 100-Pound Problem by Jennifer Dussling # 978-1-57565-095-1100PoundProblem.png
    • (AL) 2. Relative weights, ‘Crossing a river’ 3. Grade 6 4. Walt is going fishing on an island with his dog, Patch. His boat only holds 100 pounds, and he knows that he weighs 65 pounds and Patch weighs 20 pounds. He has to figure out how to get all of equipment out to the island without overflowing the boat. 5. My rating: 1. Problem solving skills, good plot
  2. The $1.00 Word Riddle Book– by Marilyn Burns – Illustrated by Martha Weston – 0-941355-02-0
    • (BG) The book requires mathematical deduction of solving the riddles with little hints and using a system where letters are assigned a number that need to be added up to a certain sum. Considering they’re riddles, I feel this could be used in multiple classrooms as a way to keep kids thinking mathematically. The riddles all include answers that when the letters are assigned a monetary value (a = $0.01, b = $0.02, … z = $0.26), the amount of money the word is worth is $1.00. Rating: 1 – I think this book would be wonderful for any classroom as a way to have a little fun while still staying in a math realm. The illustrations are extremely detailed and there are a lot of good riddles in the book.

  1. Among the Odds & Evens: A tale of adventure– by Priscilla Turner - Illustrated by Whitney Turner – 0-439-21737-7AmongTheOddsAndEvens.png
    (BG) Includes content about the difference between even and odd numbers and the inquiry into the sums of two even numbers, two odd numbers, and the sum of an even and odd number. This seems like it would be in an elementary classroom for addition and subtraction. It has clever ways to remember the difference between even and odd numbers, as well as the previously-mentioned inquiry about the outcome of sums for different even and odd pairs, since each number can marry any other number and have offspring that will either be odd or even depending on the married couple. Rating: 1 – in the appropriate classroom level, this book would be great to help explain content, as well as give a lesson on going into other people’s cultures, accepting them and not trying to change it into your culture (letters X and Y end up in the numbers’ culture and are baffled by some of their customs and try to change them so they’re more “civilized”).
  2. Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying JarBy: Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno Isbn: 0-698-11753-0
    • (BR)Grade level: not specified (I can see it being used for five or six) The father-son combo of Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno bring a very creative way of introducing factorials to students. Starting with only a jar and a little bit of imagination the story quickly becomes a list of things that are in the jar to big to count. The story brings a sense of awe as the reader soon discovers that there are so many things in the jar. The Anno’s do a very good job of explaining how factorials work in terms of counting at the end of their book by simplifying the items in the jar to simple dots. Before I read Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar I never thought that something as complex as factorials could be conveyed in so few words and simple pictures, but this very entertaining story gets the job done in a very fun way. Overall Rating: 1 The story is very simple yet full with beautiful art and creative ideas which help present factorials in a great way.
  1. A Cloak for the Dreamerby Aileen Friedman # 0-590-99698-3
    • (AL) 2. Tessellations, interior and exterior angles of shapes. 3. Grade 2 4. A tailor had three sons, and he asked each of them to make a cloak for the Archduke. The first son made one of rectangles, and the second son made two: one of squares and one of triangles. The third son, who did not want to be a tailor and instead wanted to travel the world, tried to make a cloak of circles but soon discovered that it was full of holes. Since the second son made two, the Archduke still received the three cloaks that he asked for, but the tailor realized that his third son was not meant to be a tailor. Overnight, he and his other two sons cut each of the circles into hexagons and sewed them into a cloak, which they gave to the third son as they sent him out to explore the world. My rating: 1. Good information, with plenty of room for additional discussion. Also a ‘coming of age’ story.
  2. Cut Down to Size at High Noonby Scott Sundby # 0-439-26005-1CutDownToSizeAtHighNoon.jpg
    • (AL) 2. Drawings to scale 3. Grade 3 4. Louie is a haircutter from France whose hair creations make the city of Cowlick famous. He takes large everyday objects and scales them down to recreate them on people’s heads. A newcomer, Buzzsaw, claims he is a better haircutter and they face off in the main square at high noon. Buzzsaw creates hairstyles by taking small things and scaling them larger. Rating: 1. Instructions for scaling given very explicitly, fun story
  1. The Dot and the Line: A romance in lower mathematics– by Norton Juster - 1-58717-066-3.
    • (BG) The book includes manipulations of lines and other shapes, using a lot of geometry and examples of it in different areas of the world. This would be found in a middle school geometry classroom. A straight, dependable line is in love with a dot, but she leaves him for a spontaneous scribble. The line imagines how he is seen in the real world as better than a scribble, and then discovers how he can change himself into more interesting and better shapes. Rating: 2 – the math content is very interesting, but the overall story doesn’t really represent a very good relationship, one where someone is rewarded for changing themselves to please someone else. It also doesn’t have a lot of explanation about the new shapes and manipulations.

  1. The Fly on the Ceiling A Math MythBy: Dr. Julie Glass Illustrated by: Richard Walz Isbn: 0-439-07765-6FlyOnTheCeiling.jpg
    • (BR) Grade level: 4,5 A brief history on René Descartes and how he invented the coordinate plane that we know as the Cartesian coordinate system is what this short illustrated story is all about. Intended as an introduction to reading charts and grids, The Fly on the Ceiling A Math Myth uses large quantities of humor to make the lesson interesting for students. The book also includes a couple of pages that give examples on how to read the Cartesian coordinate system. Overall Rating: 1 The story is full of humor and teaches a very important lesson on the uses of the coordinate system.

  1. The Greedy Triangleby Marilyn Burns. # 0-590-48991-7GreedyTriangle.jpg
    • (AL) 2. Names and shapes of polygons up to decagons. 3. Grade 2 4. There was a triangle that loved being a triangle because it got to be in sailboats, bridges, slices of pie, and more. But soon it got bored of being a triangle and asked the shapeshifter if it could have another side, and it tried being a square, a hexagon and so on until it had so many sides that it’s friends couldn’t even tell what kind of shape it was. The shape got very lonely and asked to be a triangle again. 5. My rating: 1. Good use of mathematics, and good ‘life lesson’ too: it’s good to try new things but always be yourself.
  1. How Big is a Foot?Written and illustrated by: Rolf Myller Isbn: 0-440-40495-9
    • (BR) Grade level 2 For such a short illustrated story, How Big is a Foot? teaches a lesson on measuring units in a very entertaining story. Telling the story about how the king invented a measuring system so he can describe to the carpenter how big he wants the queens bed to be made, Myller puts a creative spin on introducing measuring units. While the story itself only teaches the history of how the English measuring system was invented (and there is one area problem) it can lead to many more activities regarding measuring units. The illustrations provide the clarity that is needed in understanding how the measuring system was invented. Overall Rating: 3 While the book is very interesting I can see very little place for it in the math classroom, perhaps in a science class? (NP> Are the mathematics correct? Is it not a good idea to realize how measurement evolved as a mathematics topic? Does it really rate a 3 by our rating system?)

  1. The I Hate Mathematics! Bookby Marilyn Burns # 0-590-48014-6IHateMathematicsBook.jpg
    • (AL) 2. logic, probability, topology, math magic, symmetry, ratios, combinations, math games 3. Grade 5, 6 4. Survey of different puzzles and experiments that students can do on their own, with friends, and for peers to explore and enhance mathematical knowledge. 5. My rating: 2. Very good voice and way of presenting material, however a student not interested in math may not have the will to do any of the activities.
    • (BR) Grade level: 5,6 Tackling almost every branch of mathematics (including topology and even some “math magic”) The I Hate Mathematics! Book uses humor as its main tool to battle the boredom that most students assume math comes with. Listing well over 100 activities for students (or really anyone) who want to try, Burns provides very entertaining ways of going about math. The explanations that come with each activity come loaded with all kinds of mathematical terms that should increase anyone’s mathematical vocabulary after only one read. Coupled with positive reinforcement (one of the first instructions is: “you’re a mathematical genius!”) the book gives great little pointers that are so subtle they scream: “Read me!” In fact at the bottom of the first page Burns gives what she calls “the password” to mathematics as the single word “pattern.” A little more in depth than any of the other books in this review The I Hate Mathematics! Book is not meant to be read cover-to-cover as the other books are. If used as a manual for students who seem to really protest math this book will surely change their attitudes quickly. As a teacher I can see myself giving this book to a different student every week and asking them to come back the next week and present one of the activities to the rest of the class. Overall Rating: 1 While there really is no underlying story to this book it does a great job of making math fun and exciting. I even wanted to try some of the examples myself!
    • (BG) There are many, many examples of different mathematical concepts used in every day life, including things they might’ve not noticed before and games that they can play with their friends where math gives the upper hand. Right around the middle school math level. There is so much in this book! There are games, riddles, fun facts, and tricks that are sure to interest kids. The tone of the book the author uses is lively and humorous, which keeps the reader engaged throughout the entire book. Rating: 1 – this is a useful book for kids who don’t see anything about mathematics past bookwork and problems they can’t solve. It’s also just a great book for kids in general to show that math is everywhere in life and can be fun. The only thing I can see possibly going wrong with this book is that there is so much in this book that it could be slightly overwhelming to just hand the book to a student.
    • (CC) 2. The book covers topics from predictions to doubling, volume, number series to probability. 3. Late elementary school to 6-8th grade. 4. The book contains many activities, tricks and problems that can be done alone or with a friend and will introduce new topics or support old knowledge through exploration. 5. My Rating-1 The mathematics in this book are correct and the activities are engaging in a way that do not make student feel like they are playing a game not doing math.

  1. Jim and the BeanstalkBy Raymond Briggs ISBN-13: 978-0698115774
    • (CC) 2. This book covers the idea of measurements. 3. Grade level K-2 4. Jim climbs up the beanstalk and measures the giant for a glasses, teeth, and a wig. 5. My Rating-2 The book is a captivating twist on a popular tale and an engaging way to introduce the idea of measurement. However, I think it could have incorporated more measurement vocabulary or ideas that students need to think about when measuring.
  1. Let’s Fly A KiteBy: Stuart J. Murphy Illustrated by: Brian Floca Isbn: 0-06-446737-6
    • (BR) Grade level: ages six and up When a brother and sister refuse to share and play nice their babysitter Laura decides to teach them a way to split things evenly, using symmetry. Let’s fly a kite teaches all kinds of lessons in math and in life. By giving plenty of examples of how things can be split evenly (such as a sandwich or a kite) the story teaches the basic concept of symmetry as well as teaching students that sharing is always the best solution. Overall Rating: 2 The story seems forced and only driven by the need to teach students about symmetry; however, the concepts are still presented in a very interesting way.
  1. Math for Smarty PantsBy Marilyn Burns ISBN-13: 978-0590489409MathForSmartyPants.png
    • (CC) 2. The book covers the topics of number patterns, shapes, math games, logic puzzles, states and number relationships. 3. Could use some activities in 6th grade but 8th grade would be more ideal. 4. The book contains many fascinating activities and games for students to explore to support learning of many different and important concepts used in higher mathematics. 5. My Rating- 1 The mathematics found in this book are correct. At first the beginning of the book turned me off and if I had read this book when I was younger I would have thought it was lame. However, I read on I found the complexity of the problems engaging and the activities hard to resist.
  2. A Million Fish More or LessBy Patricia C. McKissack ISBN-13: 978-0679880868MillionFishMoreOrLess.png
    • (CC) 2. The book discusses the idea of halving starting from a large number and ending at a number closer to one. 3. Grade level 3 or middle elementary. 4. The book tells the tale of Hugh Thomas and his experience with the strange things that happen on the Bayou Clapateaux. He catches 3 fish then a million more. He then proceeds to lose the fish by a half each time. 5. My Rating- 1 The book is entertaining and mathematically informational.
  3. Mummy Math An Adventure in GeometryBy: Cindy Neuschwander Illustrated by: Bryan Langdo Isbn: 0-8050-7505-4MummyMath.jpg
    • (BR) Grade level: 3-4 Mummy Math provides a very entertaining story about a brother and sister who unlock the secrets of the ancient Egyptians using geometry. Specifically the lessons taught in this book deal with geometric solids and how many faces they have. Captivating students with a real adventure full of mystery and danger Neuschwander sneaks in mini lessons regarding geometric solids that are very important in the world of geometry. Using the idea of how many faces each geometric figure has the brother and sister investigate several three-dimensional figures on their quest to find the missing pharaoh. Overall Rating: 1 The adventure is a great thrill ride full of anticipation and excitement. This coupled with the some times boring geometry (but not in this case) makes for a great book.
  1. One Grain of Rice a Mathematical FolktaleBy Demi ISBN-13: 978-0590939980 OneGrainOfRice.png
    • (CC) 2. The book covers the idea of doubling and how quickly using doubling things can grow. 3. Grade level 4-6 4. This is the story of a raja in India who kept all the rice from his starving people and the girl who tricked him into giving enough rice back to the people through the use of doubling. 5. My Rating- 1 The math is spectacular and the story is interesting.

  1. Pigs on the Ball: Fun with math and sports– by Amy Axelrod - Illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally – 0-689-83537-7PigsOnABall.jpg
    • (BG) Includes some basic content about geometry like straight line, parallel lines, and semi-circles. It also gives questions at the end including an actual score card of the mini golf game that the pigs played and questions about geometry in real life. Ages 4-9. The Pig Family go to a miniature golf place for Mr. Pig’s birthday, except everyone but Mr. Pig seems to have luck on the mini-golf course because of the use of geometry. Rating: 2 – the math in the book doesn’t seem to be very engaging, only once you reach the end does it pick up a little. However, the book did show the importance of geometry in sports settings.

  1. Racing Around– by Stuart J. Murphy – Illustrated by Mike Reed – 0-06-446244-7
    • (BG) Involves the use of perimeter and how to calculate it. Ages 6 and up. Most likely an elementary school book. A young brother tries to prove to his older siblings that he can finish a 15 km bike ride with them by riding other perimeters before the race, which his older brother measures and calculates that each previous perimeter is still not the length of the race. The end involves various activities you can do that involve finding perimeters. Rating: 1 – for the age level, the book is a good exercise in perimeters, especially the end with several activities for kids to try in real life. The book also has a good story line that kids should not give up with they’re told they don’t have the ability to do something.
  2. A Remainder of Oneby Elinot J Pinczes # 0-590-76971-5RemainderOfOne.png
    1. (AL) 2. dividing with remainders 3. Grade 3 4. Joe the bug is marching with his squadron of 25, but when they march in two lines he doesn’t have a partner. He has to stay home because he doesn’t fit in the lines. They try marching in 3 and 4 lines, but Joe is always left over until they try 5 lines. Now Joe can march with his friends. 5. My Rating: 1. Good mathematical ideas, engaging characters.
  3. Roman Numerals I to MMby Arthur Geisert # 0-439-86314-7
    • (AL) 2. counting using roman numerals 3. Grade 4 4. Explore the meanings of roman numerals by counting objects in a picture. 5. My rating: 2. Excellent method of introducing roman numerals but no overarching plot.
  4. Room for RipleyBy Stuart J. Murphy ISBN-13: 978-0064467247
    • (CC) 2. This book covers the mathematical topic of conversion rates and equivalence of liquid measurements. 3. Grade level 3rd 4. Room for Ripley is the story of Carlos and the preparations he makes before he purchases his new fish Ripley. 5. My Rating- 1 The story is appealing and incorporates the ideas of liquid measurements seamlessly and correctly.

  1. Sir Cumference and the Dragon of PiBy: Cindy Neuschwander Illustrated by: Wayne Geehan Isbn: 1-57091-164-9
    • (BR) Grade level: geometry level math classes A short illustrated story about a boy named Radius and his quest to return his dragon father back into his human form, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi teaches children the basic concepts of pi while presenting a very entertaining story. Using geometric terms as names such as the main character Radius or his mother the lady Di of Ameter students are introduced to mathematics vocabulary with out even knowing it. The story is immensely entertaining and full of very colorful pictures. Not only is the story entertaining it is also accurate and extremely clear in conveying the concepts of pi. Overall Rating: 1 The mathematical concepts in the book are presented in a very clear manner and the story really draws the reader in.
  2. Sir Cumference and the First Round Tableby Cindy Neuschwander # 1-57091-152-5
    • (AL) 2. Perimeters and circle vocabulary 3. Grade 3 4. King Arthur brought together all of his knights for a discussion around his rectangular table. However, at the end of the day he had a sore throat from yelling all the way across the table. He tries differently shaped tables, but they all have something wrong with them until Sir Cumference’s son Radius discovers a fallen tree and suggests they try that for a table. My rating: 1. Introduces relative perimeters for different shapes, define diameter/circumference/ radius, engaging story
    • (CC) 2. This book covers the mathematical vocabulary of circumference, diameter, and radius and other shapes. 3. Late elementary - 6th grade. 4. Sir Cumference, his wife Lady Di and his son Radius help design a table to satisfy King Arthur. 5. My Rating- 1 The mathematics of this book although simple is correct and embedded within a witty and entertaining story.
  3. Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland– by Cindy Neuschwander – Illustrated by Wayne Geehan – 1-57091-169-X
    • (BR) Involves an incredible amount of information regarding angles and circles, including acute, obtuse, and the amount of degrees in a circle. This could be used in either elementary or possibly even a middle school geometry class. A very detailed illustrated story about Radius, a young boy who wants to be a knight, who is trained by Sir D’Grees and sent off on a mission by Sir D’Grees and his parents, Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter. The mission is to find their neighbor King Lell who has disappeared using a golden medallion family heirloom. Radius discovers the uses of his medallion on his quest and goes on to explain his discoveries to the rest of the kingdom. Rating: 1 – very engaging story with many clever incorporations of key vocabulary words and easy ways to remember the difference between obtuse and acute angles. The tale of adventure draws the reader in and captures their attention.
  4. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!By Marilyn Burns ISBN-13: 978-0590944595
    • (CC) 2. The book introduces the idea of area versus perimeter. 3. Grade level 3-6 4. As Mr. and Mrs. Comfort plan a family get together they come up with a seating arrangement for their family. During the dinner party they find that it is important to keep the seating arrangement the same so that everyone gets a seat. 5. My Rating- 1 The story is engaging and has the possibility to spark a lively discussion about mathematics based on what happens through out the story.
  1. Wilma Unlimited (How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman)By: Kathleen Krull Illustrated by: David Diaz Isbn: 0-15-202098-5WilmaUnlimited.jpg
    • (BR) Grade level: not specified Wilma Unlimited is the illustrated short story about Wilma Rudolph and her journey to the 1960 Olympics and three gold medals. The story is pure inspiration for children to rise above all odds and to try their hardest just as Wilma did. While the story lacks in any mathematical significance it can still be useful in any class. The lessons taught in Wilma Unlimited are those of never giving up and overcoming all odds to achieve the seemingly impossible. The motivational lessons coupled with the jazz flavored illustrations make for a very entertaining story, which will be sure to captivate students from cover to cover. Overall Rating: 3 While the story is very entertaining and a true tale of overcoming all odds the math concepts are almost none existent.
  1. Zachary Zormer: Shape Transformer– by Joanne Reisberg – Illustrated by David Hohn – 1-57091-876-7ZacharyZormer.png
    1. (BG) Shows a couple of cool tricks including a Moebius strip, making a large frame to step through out of a small piece of paper, and expanding light to cover more area. Elementary school classroom. Zachary Zormer keeps forgetting to bring things in on Fridays for their math class to measure. When he gets called on each Friday, it’s up to him to be quick on his feet and impress the class with whatever he can find. He amazes the class with his Moebius strip, how he can make a frame to step through out of a hall pass, and expanding light to cover more area. Rating: 1 – for the grade level, it brings up some cool tricks that will impress kids and engage them in discussing the usefulness of mathematics and how its everywhere in the world.