How is it possible to count a complicated pattern of strawberry seeds or grapes on a vine or camel humps--in a blink of an eye? If children can open their minds to new ways of perceiving math, anything is possible! Greg Tang shows readers creative ways to use patterns and combinations of numbers to solve math puzzles quickly and effectively. Rather than laboriously counting 24 mushroom slices on a pizza, Tang suggests: "Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count twice." And in adding the number of dots on a fan: "Instead of seeing groups of threes, / Count by fives and it's a breeze!"
Every two-page spread features cheerful computer-generated art by Harry Briggs, depicting rows of camels, beaches full of seashells, and vines laden with grapes. Tang's witty little accompanying verses tickle the fancy even as they challenge the mind. Guided by hints in the verses, readers find solutions to each math riddle, by looking "askew" to find a pattern, subtracting in order to add, or adding numbers that have easy sums before clustering them to add in groups. Solutions and explanations are provided in the back of the book. With a little creativity and common sense, as opposed to formulas and memorization, Tang believes that all kids can do well in math--and have fun while they're at it. Readers of The Grapes of Math are already ahead of the game. (Ages 6 to 10) --Emilie Coulter