Canadian Children's Book Centre's Reviews > Mathemagic!: Number Tricks

Mathemagic! by Lynda Colgan
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Sep 27, 2011

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Can math be magic? It can if you learn the tricks in this book. A wide variety of tricks are presented starting with some that are simple to learn and others that require more skill to execute. There are complete instructions on how to perform each trick, including hints to make it work better with an audience, as well as easy-tounderstand descriptions of why it works.

The mathematical principles are explained in a straightforward way, often with additional information and the necessary props. Any budding magician will enjoy the range of illusions that can make them seem mathematically knowledgeable. And this might lead to an interest in learning more math in the classroom.

Lynda Colgan has an extensive background in both math and education and it shows in the clarity and diversity of the tricks presented. Several of the tricks are based on the historical use of numbers. For example, the Mummy Math trick is based on multiplication as it was done in ancient Egypt and the Division Dowels are based on work done in France in the 1800s. There are also illusions based on complementary numbers, the 9 tricks, and on binary numbers.

The illustrations are integral to the book, often showing how the trick is done and adding interest throughout. Jane Kurisu has a talent for clearly indicating the important aspects of the trick, no wonder she has illustrated several how-to books. The folks at Kids Can Press have done it again!

In conjunction with the book there is a television series, The Prime Radicals. The series can be seen on TVOntario and in various other provinces.

Reviewed by Willow Moonbeam in Canadian Children's Book News (Spring 2011, Vol. 34, No. 2)
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