by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
This entertaining picture book addresses a condition suffered by many kids and adults alike – math anxiety – specifically anxiety about word problems. Math Curse tells the story of a child who believes she has been put under a curse by her (his?) math teacher, Mrs. Fibonacci. One morning, Mrs. Fibonacci says, “You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem.” The next day, everything our main character sees becomes a math problem. She can’t escape!
The imaginative dream-like illustrations and the silly “math problems” make this a fun read. My 8-year old son was laughing all the way home from the library and kept insisting on reading passages to me. He asked that I include his favorite passage in this review:
“I try to get on the bus without thinking about anything, but there are 5 kids already on the bus, 5 kids get on at my stop, 5 more get on at the next stop, and 5 more get on at the last stop. True or False: What’s the bus driver’s name?”
You’re child won’t actually learn to do math problems from this book, but it introduces many math topics like fractions, charts, base systems, and unit conversion. And, in the end, the main character overcomes her math phobia and is doing word problems like a champ.