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Barron's Painless Junior Math Review by Dena Wood

Margery Masters, MEd
Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Blvd.
Hauppauge, New York 11788

Painless Junior Math covers most math topics likely to be encountered by your 3rd or 4th grader. Pythagorus, a friendly rooster who dons a variety of hats to fit the situation, speaks directly to your student as he introduces concepts and issues challenges. With relatively large print, plenty of room for working problems, and amusing characters, this a fun and enjoyable workbook. Intimidating it is not. Icons portraying Pythagorus in a variety of poses inject a bit of humor into the process as well. For example, when Pythagorus is wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat and holding a magnifying glass, you're to watch for "What You'll Find." When he stands on a diving board wearing flippers, you'll know it's time to "Let's Try It!" 

While the book is fun and friendly, I'll admit to initially being a bit confused about how or when to use it. It is not a curriculum, nor is it a workbook. It lies somewhere in between. Each chapter begins by introducing terms and definitions. A brief explanation of each concept is then interspersed with problems for the student to complete. (An answer key can be found at the back of the book.) Despite my initial confusion, I've come to find this book the perfect solution for summer learning. It provides a short review and practice questions while being enjoyable and entertaining at the same time. 

Concepts covered include telling time, place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, money, measurement, geometry, graphs, fractions, probability, and more. 

A detailed index allows you to find a more specific topic such as "thermometers." In addition to summer review, this book would be perfect for additional practice on a topic a student is struggling with or for a quick review of a concept previously learned. You do not have to work through the book in order; each chapter stands well on its own. 

Product review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2007