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101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math Review by Kathy Gelzer

By Marc Zev, Kevin B. Segal, and Nathan Levy
Science, Naturally! LLC
725 8 th Street SE Washington, DC 20003

I think all of us parents want our children to like math, to understand its significance, and to see how mathematical principles apply to many areas of life. The three authors of this book feel the same way and have written 101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math to show kids that math is fun and useful. Targeting ages 10-14, this 208-page paperback book, after letters of introduction from the three authors, contains about 50 pages of puzzles in the areas of math, health, travel, recreation, economics, and nature/music/art. There are also some miscellaneous and bonus questions. 

This is one book where the answer segment takes up more pages than the question part because the answers are explained in detail. The annotated answer section is the most interesting part of the book. In fact, it makes for great reading, even if you don't have an interest in actually solving the problems. A one page "How To Use This Book" suggests the reader may want to use pencil and paper, even though many problems will not require that. The first chapter, "Facts, Just Math Facts" is recommended as a starting place, since it provides a review of math skills. 

The questions are conveniently printed in their entirety, in bold text, in the answer section, and there are plenty of clear illustrations, charts, and photos to help out visual learners. Some of the questions are not truly mathematical in nature but fall into the category of trivia. Examples of this are: "What are the fewest number of colors you need to color a map?" and "Which (of the listed) mathematicians also were musicians?" Some of the questions have clues to help you. 

Although page numbers are referenced for each section's corresponding answer section, I think it would have been handy to have color-coded pages to help you quickly flip to the right section. It is a little annoying that the page numbers given are wrong, as are the table of contents page numbers. 

This easy-to-read book would be excellent for anyone. Those who like math will love it; those who don't may find out they do!

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2010