Multiplies the good times for young mathematicians.



A thorough introduction to understanding multiplication and division.

In this follow-up to Do Not Open This Math Book: Addition + Subtraction (2018), celebrated mathematician, writer, and actor McKellar returns to guide young readers through multiplication and division via a punny time-machine motif. Comic strips that introduce each section feature McKellar and her two companions (pessimistic Mr. Mouse returns and is joined by peppy Ms. Squirrel) traveling through humorous historical anecdotes that serve as jumping-off points for the math, sometimes in unexpected ways. The organizational flow is intuitive. Charts and visualizations are presented to help readers solve basic problems by understanding number relationships; then memorization tricks are given to help master times tables (some clever, some rhymed); finally, McKellar tackles more complicated concepts (the order of operations, or PEMDAS—with pandas; multidigit problems; and long division). The visuals throughout help in keeping the material so simple that even adults will be able to follow math pedagogy they didn’t learn but that’s currently being used in schools (and there’s a guide in the backmatter). The brilliant-through-simplicity textual explanations are easily accessible to independent readers, and the problem sets (“Game Time” sections in each chapter) are set up for readers to succeed. For extras and more math, McKellar points readers to the book’s website and to her more-advanced middle school book, Math Doesn’t Suck (2008).

Multiplies the good times for young mathematicians. (answer key, index) (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-93402-9

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles.



Homophones in versatile parallel sentences create absurd scenarios.

The pattern is simple but endlessly funny: Two sentences, each illustrated, sound the same but are differentiated by their use of homophones. On the verso of the opening spread a cartoon restaurant scene shows a diner lifting a plate of spaghetti and meatballs to a waiter who removes a dark hair from the plate of noodles: “The hair came forth.” (Both figures have brown skin.) Opposite, the scene shows a race with a tortoise at the finish line while a hare trails the tortoise, a snake, and a snail: “The hare came fourth.” The humorous line drawings feature an array of humans, animals, and monsters and provide support and context to the sentences, however bizarre they may seem. New vocabulary is constantly introduced, as is the idea that spelling and punctuation can alter meaning. Some pairings get quite sophisticated; others are rather forced. “The barred man looted the establishment. / The bard man luted the establishment” stretches the concept, paralleling barred with bard as adjectives and looted with luted as verbs. The former is an orange-jumpsuited White prisoner in a cell; the other, a brown-skinned musician strumming a lute for a racially diverse group of dancers. Poetic license may allow for luted, though the word lute is glaringly missing from the detailed glossary.

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-659-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.


From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet