19 January 2013

Book Review: Sir Cumference and the First Round Table

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander, illustrated by Wayne Geehan

King Arthur is convening his knights for the first time, but there is a problem -- the table.  Sir Cumference takes it upon himself to solve the problem. 

This children's book helps children in grades 2-5 see the connections between various polygons and a circle. The properties of each polygon are used in the story. Mathematically it is sound and the author does explain the material in a very nice child-friendly manner. Adults will enjoy the plethora of puns. 

My only complaint is the colors in the illustrations is a bit too wild -- tone down some of the contrasts would help the appearance. ( )

As a high school math teacher, I do use this book to reinforce the properties of various polygons, because it is accurate and because even teenagers like to be read to.  I also show it to students a good example of a math book for children and then I assign them the project to make their own story book on a math topic.  While it is easy to create simple and engaging counting books for lower grades, my students begin to appreciate for much work and thought goes into presenting high school math while entertaining an audience.

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