Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

What’s The Nine-Year-Old reading this week?


Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Nine-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Nine-Year-Old pulls books from the red shelf.

Math for Kids & Other People Too! by Theoni Pappas

math4kidsWhat the book’s about: Theoni Pappas’ math books are an engaging blend of math-based stories and puzzles that go far beyond the math facts that can tend to take over the early grades. My intent in giving this book to The Nine-Year-Old was to show her that those drills had a greater purpose. If she learned the math facts, I assured her with all the confidence my English Major brain could summon, one day she too would be able to do cool things with fractals. Unfortunately, Theoni Pappas does such an excellent job of explaining fractals and other advanced math concepts that even kids still struggling with their 8 times tables can master them. Not surprisingly, The Nine-Year-Old has decided that math facts are for the birds.

So, parents, be warned. This book’s great for rekindling a flagging interest in math (or sustaining a healthy one), but be prepared to defend vigorously the idea that basic math facts still need to be learned, even if the world of advanced math doesn’t always appear to include numbers.  

Why The Nine-Year-Old picked it up: “Cool, math-themed book. It got me to love unassigned math. All we do in school is stuff like 9 x 8 = ___, which is 72, by the way. No mobius strips, Fibonacci sequences, palindromes, or fractals! Ugh!!!!”

The Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka

timewarpWhat the book’s about: The basic premise of the entire Time Warp Series is extra-meta. A magic book transports Joe, Sam, and Fred back in time so that they can have excellent adventures. Black knights and stinky giants are no match for these kids. Fun for kids to read and packed with entertaining twists on the typical chivalric cliches to keep parents amused as well. 

Why The Nine-Year-Old thinks you should pick it up: “It’s crazy the way the Time Warp Trio ended up in Camelot. Bleob the giant, you’re toast!”

The Big Book of Why by the Editors of Time for Kids Magazine

bigbookwhyWhat the book’s about: A book packed with 250 questions some of which The Nine-Year-Old hasn’t even asked me yet? Can’t imagine why The Nine-Year-Old would have read through this one eight times already. Relieved it exists, though, as it takes some of the load off Caterpickles.

Why The Nine-Year-Old thinks you should read it: “Answers many common questions, like ‘Why is a basketball orange?’ Anyone who asks questions would like this book.”

Have you or your Caterpickle read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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