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Il mago dei numeri. Un libro da leggere prima di addormentarsi, dedicato a chi ha paura della matematica
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Il mago dei numeri. Un libro da leggere prima di addormentarsi, dedicato a chi ha paura della matematica

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,202 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
Un diavoletto dai mille giochi di prestigio conduce Roberto, un ragazzino che odia la matematica perché insegnata male da un professore antipatico, alla scoperta del paese incantato dei numeri. E il mondo della matematica diventa fantasioso come una fiaba.
Paperback, 259 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Einaudi (first published 1997)
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Hinote I've only read this in german, but I'll try to explain in english. Robert is a boy who doesn't like math. He also has nightmares very frequently. One…moreI've only read this in german, but I'll try to explain in english. Robert is a boy who doesn't like math. He also has nightmares very frequently. One night, in his dream, he meets someone introducing himself as the Number Devil who wants to tell him about math. For twelve nights, they meet in dreems and discuss different kinds of numbers.
The first few dreams include a lot of 'Stop it!'-yelling from Robert and some angry fits from the Number Devil. They grow accustomed over the course of the book.
The book has a plot, but I think it's rather meant to get you thinking as a reader. It points out funny ways numbers act sometimes. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Random math thinly disguised as a novel. I get what it's trying to do but it feels more like the kind of characters that kids' textbooks have to make the info more "fun." there isn't a plot here. But if it gets kid's reading about math then go go go. Plus, the illustrations are really cute.
Lance Greenfield
Feb 24, 2016 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-reads
This book makes maths fun, even for those little people who believe it to be a laborious trudge through treacle. In fact, that would describe Robert, the main character in this book. He has been struggling with maths for as long as he can remember. One night, he dreams that he meets a little devil, The Number Devil, who teaches him, as he sleeps, all sorts of useful tricks with numbers.

When you enjoy something, and gain immediate benefit, you obviously learn more.

My Dad made all aspects of mathe
...more
David Madrigal
Dec 08, 2014 David Madrigal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was by far the most interesting book I have read in years. I found it really interesting as the concepts in mathematics were very interesting, yet explained in simple terms. (view spoiler) ...more
Elaine
Oct 07, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, year-2012
I love the idea of a novel that relies on and promotes interest in math, but the execution here just fell way short for me. The story itself - that a boy who hates math learns to like it through a series of dreams in which he interacts with a Number Devil - is a little thin and repetitive. But what I found bothered me the most were the explanations of the math concepts. I've seen some great nonfiction books that make math concepts interesting AND explain them in multiple ways for students who ca ...more
Tung
Jan 01, 2012 Tung rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Imagine that a math teacher wanted to write a children's book to show kids how cool math really was; but since it's a math teacher and not an English teacher doing the writing, all you end up with are math concepts written out in analogies similar to what you'd hear in a math classroom -- that's what this book is like. The story is about a boy named Robert who hates his math class and math teacher and by extension math in general. He falls asleep and over a series of twelve different dreams over ...more
Jose lana
Feb 29, 2016 Jose lana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, mathematics
This book told as a 12 nights dream of a child with a mathematical devil is a serious attempt to prove that mathematics can be entertaining,interesting,beautiful and fun and not a boring,useless,ugly and hermetic subject.

It is aimed mainly to young teens,but is also enjoyable by adults that for some reason hate the maths or have a wrong concept of this field.

Is a tale where departing of elemental concepts as natural numbers,prime numbers,powers and square roots introduce more advanced concepts a
...more
Anne Hamilton
Apr 06, 2013 Anne Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...But as he stood in front of his mirror in his pajamas, brushing his teeth, he felt something tickling his chest and looked down to see a tiny five-pointed star on a thin golden chain. He couldn't believe his eyes. This time his dream had come true! ...After he'd dressed, he took the chain off and stuck it in his pocket: he didn't want his mother asking silly questions. ...Where'd that star come from? she'd want to know the minute she saw it. Boys don't wear jewelry! ...How could he tell her
...more
Bradman
Feb 23, 2015 Bradman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, maths, 2015
Great book.

It talks about maths in a way that is as simple as 1+1=2.
I was way behind in maths going into high school, and I have learnt so much from this book in 1-2 months.
I learnt stuff like Fractions, Bonacci/Fibonacci numbers, Decimals, Factorial (Vroom!), Hopping numbers, Prima Donnas, and Triangle numbers.

My favorite was the "Hopping Numbers". I spent a good part of a day just writing them all down. I wrote down 55 hopping numbers, and the biggest one I did was 18,014,398,509,481,984, whic
...more
José Luis
Feb 06, 2015 José Luis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://30dediferencia.wordpress.com/...

No creo que leer El diablo de los libros pueda hacer que un niño al que no le gusten las matemáticas empieza a apreciarlas, pero estoy convencido de que no era esa la intención del autor al escribir el libro, sino más bien crear una historia entretenida con las matemáticas como hilo argumental en la que se nos muestran curiosidades y aspectos llamativos de las mismas que puedan despertar posteriormente el interés de los chavales.

Me ha resultado muy curiosa
...more
Yuta .
Dec 02, 2014 Yuta . rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Count as 2 books (Review 3 and 4)

I have read the book "The Number Devil" because my grandpa sent it to me from Japan in Japanese translation. The book was amazing. This book made me like math and this is when I first understood radicals and other mathematic things. I will tell you that, by the time you finish this book, you will think "Oh, math is so cool!".

Characters

In the book, Math Devil teaches math to this boy named Robert (Who hate Math),many interesting facts about math, and the secret be
...more
Jason Hamilton
Apr 23, 2014 Jason Hamilton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a thinly veiled novelization of a few math problems. It's wrapped in a story about a boy with crazy dreams that begins dreaming about math and learning things from a number devil.

My impression was that the book got the formula all wrong. The story is nonsensical and tedious, so you're ready to get to the math. The math is then explained via conversation between the main character and the number devil, so you really have to reflect on the topics after each chapter to understand them.
...more
Steven
Feb 27, 2010 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed The Number Devil. I thought that it was a worthwhile book and if you are having trouble in math, it can really help you. I thought that the book was very good in its way of delivering the information. Robert, the main character, is always asleep when he is with the Number Devil and in his dream world, math is completely different from ours. One thing i didn't really like about the book is how they do not always use real math terms. They use words like coconuts and rutabagas and ...more
Passang
This summer I decided to read the book The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. The story is about a boy named Robert who hates math because he finds it very boring at school. He keeps dreaming about being eaten by a giant fish or sliding down a never ending slide until one night he suddenly finds himself dreaming about meeting the Number Devil (Teplotaxl). During the twelve nights Robert finds himself learning different mathematical principles every night.
In the
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Jairo Guzman
Enzensberger tells a story of Robert, a young boy with mediocre math skills, and his journey through the world of mathematics under the tutoring of the number devil, a black-bearded, irascible, red man. In Enzensberger's The number devil, the boy Robert is able to contact this devil through 12 dreams and learns that math isn’t that bad at all. The whole purpose of this book is to reveal to young people that mathematics is something worth exploring and not just a sadistic intellectual exercise ma ...more
Muhammad
Sep 25, 2012 Muhammad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Ini bukan dongeng, bukan pula memoar. Tapi kejadian-kejadian yang ada dalam buku ini bisa saja Anda alami di kehidupan Anda.

Perkenalkan Robert, seorang anak berumur 12 tahun yang sangat membenci matematika dan terutama guru matematikanya. Baginya angka-angka dan segala macam hitung-hitungan adalah hal yang menjemukan. Tapi, pandangannya tersebut perlahan-lahan berubah sejak bertemu Setan Angka dalam mimpinya. Dari malam ke malam Setan Angka mengajaknya bertualang menjelajahi dunia matematika. Se
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Ileen
Grazie mille Enzensberger!
Sapevo che la matematica può essere divertente (anche se i professori evitano accuratamente di farti conoscere questo lato) ma che fosse così spassosa, quello no, non l'avrei immaginato. Dodici notti, dodici sogni per insegnare a Roberto come funzionano le cose e che alla fine non è il caso di avere paura. Robero è fantastico! Il modo di rispondere, di fare, non sembra un bambino di 10 anni, come tralatro si evince anche dalla copertina (anche perchè esprimo qualche pe
...more
Beth
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you get when you cross Alice in Wonderland with a small, red, horned man obsessed with numbers? No, it isn't an arithmetic problem - it's a middle school math primer!
Robert, a boy who hates math and is frustrated because his teacher doesn't allow calculators, has strange dreams all the time. One night he dreams up a character called the Number Devil, who takes him away to a surreal world of numbers where Robert learns basic math concepts and a few handy shortcuts. After all, says the Num
...more
Gabriel
A cute book that holds many of the same principals as Magic House of Numbers, but is written with a middle school/very late elementary school audience in mind.

Some great (and advanced) mathematical ideas are presented in here. These include some ideas as young as Russel's Paradox or Countable Infinities. Others are much older (Pascal's Triangle and Diagonal length of squares). All of this told in a quiet, simple manner akin to Daniel Quinn's Ishmael - though a little more entertaining than that
...more
Yumikirtash
I always struggled with mathematics, and because of that I also did not particularly like them. However, this book made numbers fun! And the story simple and with a touch of magic from the incredible dreams made everything even more entertaining.

I am thanking my brother for lending me the book, this was a nice ride.
Zahra Dashti
خیلی کتاب خوبی بود. اگه ریاضیات و بازی با اعداد و این تیپ چیزها رو دوست دارین بخونیدش. مخصوصا برای نوجوانها عالیه. دنیای زیبایی رو براشون از اعداد به تصویر می کشه و به شیوه شیرینی بهشون اطلاعات می ده در مورد علم اعداد و ریاضیات.
با اینکه از سن من گذشته بود وقتی خوندمش ، ازش خیلی لذت بردم!
Lisa
Sep 25, 2015 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math-books
This book has the same artist as one of our favorite children's books: In the Town, All Year Round.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. Who would I recommend it to?

Not math people - The terminology will drive this reader crazy! The author took math terms and called them something else. For example, instead of "the square root of 9 equals 3," it was "the rutabaga of 9 equals 3." OOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKKK!

Not non-math people - 1. With the strange verbiage, you won't be able to talk to other people,
...more
Whitney
Jul 25, 2014 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Math books written in plain English are difficult to find. Math books written in plain English that are also entertaining are nearly nonexistent. Thankfully, there's this one.

I wish I found this book when I was a kid. if I had. my grades probably would have been a lot better than they were.
Amandabeicker
Mar 24, 2016 Amandabeicker rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Menos útil de lo que lo recordaba pero, ahora que necesito revisar conceptos matemáticos básicos, me ha venido muy bien la relectura de las aventuras de Robert y el diablo de los números (¡mi 'yo' de 8 años llegó a encariñarse mucho con ellos en su momento!). A lo largo de doce noches, Robert recibe la visita de un diablo de los números que, en sueños, le propone situaciones, problemas y juegos relacionados con sus odiados números, explicándole, de paso, muchas curiosidades sobre ellos. Las ilus ...more
Erica
May 06, 2014 Erica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting concept. I was expecting something along the lines of The Phantom Tollbooth but this book doesn't even come close to that level of whimsical profoundness. I was definitely disappointed. The encounters between the dreaming child Robert and the Number Devil quickly become repetitive and stale. The author is trying to make children realize for themselves that mathematics are beautiful but the execution of this goal is actually quite ordinary. This book is recommended for kids 10+ b ...more
Michael Keen

The Number Devil, by Enzensberger, was a little less than lack luster book. While the idea of a story-like math book was intriguing, this novel felt flat and the story felt forced in. The flow of the book seemed choppy as it would jump from attempting to teach math, to quickly plugging in a character or setting trait. For students struggling with mathematics this novel would most likely leave them more confused with who, what and where, than it would teach them math.
This approach to teaching mat
...more
Amanda
Mar 06, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Math can be intimidating and sometimes boring for kids if they do not have a particular interest in it. Numbers can be daunting and to really get a substantial understanding of what the students are doing in math class, sometimes a broader lesson on background information and different perspectives helps the child to understand better. To put differently, sometimes students need to understand why they are doing what they are doing in math and how things relate and build off of each other in orde ...more
Leeanne Leary
Mar 01, 2016 Leeanne Leary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Enzensberger turns the "world of math" that some students resist so often into a real world and a thrilling adventure within that world. Over the course of the book, the nights become different adventures as the Number Devil himself takes the idea of math and the intricacies of numbers and problems and turns them into an experience that is exciting for anyone reading.
Although I think the book lacks a real plot, it does emphasize an overarching message that if a child takes the time
...more
Maria Cuga
This is a great book . . . if you like math, which not many people seem to. This book is written with very simplistic language and sentence structure, which makes it easy to understand if reading isn't necessarily your strength. However, on the flip side of that, there is a good story line here. So if you maybe don't like math so much but like to read, then this book is definitely better than a traditional math textbook. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzenberger also ...more
Daniel
Feb 22, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzenberger is a book for children about the exploration of mathematics through a young boy named Robert who is taught mathematics by a number devil by the name of Teplotaxi. The teaching takes places over the course of twelve dreams that Robert has due to suffering from mathematical anxiety in school. The book also features clever illustrations by Rotraut Susanne Berner. I was required to read this book as part of a graduate level course ...more
Katelyn Bishop
As someone who grew up always hating math (and still hates math to this day) I was very interested in reading this book. I either thought it would give me a better appreciation of math or that it would show me that someone felt the same way about math as I did. I didn't find either of these things in this book. I appreciated how the author tried to come up with a fun, fantasy world where math makes sense but I feel that this book miss the mark. The book felt to me as though it was a textbook wit ...more
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