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

Trivial but tantalizing.


From the Odd Science series

Fast facts about the human body and all its parts inside and out.

Illustrator Olstein has turned his Tumblr blog of science facts into a science-trivia series for young readers. This title offers a collection of info-bits about the human body. A table of contents reveals its organization. From atoms to bacteria, hair to feet, each of the 20 sections is covered in one or more spreads. Each spread includes one to four facts. The author’s choices are quirky and surprising: “Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid”; “Your lungs are not the same size”; “Besides primates and people, koalas are the only other animals to have unique fingerprints.” They’re usually accompanied by a short explanation, but he offers no sources. Graphically interesting illustrations in muted retro colors accompany each entry. Humans may be white, brown, or green. The clean lines and minimalist depictions make these look like posters, and they are both appealing and appropriate to both substance and audience. Some involve a bit of visual humor; a cat seems to be combing a woman’s hair; an ice cream cone has turned another woman blue. Other titles in this series publish simultaneously: Amazing Inventions, Incredible Creatures, and Spectacular Space. Libraries where the National Geographic Kids Weird but True series circulates well may find this similarly appealing.

Trivial but tantalizing. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3759-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet