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5 the Ancient Formula: A Mystery with Fractions


A puzzle from Sifu's grandfather has everyone stumped. A circle divided into wedges shows part of the formula for an ancient medicine. But some wedgesand another circleare blank, and no one knows how the original formula disappeared! Joy, Adam, Amy, and Sam will have to use clues—and fractionsto discover the truth about...


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A puzzle from Sifu's grandfather has everyone stumped. A circle divided into wedges shows part of the formula for an ancient medicine. But some wedgesand another circleare blank, and no one knows how the original formula disappeared! Joy, Adam, Amy, and Sam will have to use clues—and fractionsto discover the truth about...


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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Loretta Caravette
Bravo for "Manga Math Mysteries" for tackling such a difficult subject—Math! In this particular instance they cover fractions. This graphic novel takes place at a Kung Fu class where the students learn some basic moves. "Each Kung Fu move has three parts. There's how you start. There's how you finish. And there's how you get from one to the other. If you only learn the starting and stopping positions you're missing 1/3 of the move." The students go on to learn how to make a special sports drink to help their bodies recover from the demands of Kung Fu. They also look to solve a puzzle presented by a Kung Fu journal of a Jow, or medicine, a great master had used on his students. The formula was broken down into eight parts. The students use fractions to figure out how many pieces are missing. There is a little drama when a former student is suspected of stealing some of the pieces. Fractions are tough and this entry in the "Manga Math Mysteries" series attempts to make understanding them fun and practical. Everything in the story returns to the fraction question and it can feel a little didactic. However, the story is interesting and demonstrates the use of fractions in everyday life. It is worth the read. Reviewer: Loretta Caravette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761349075
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe
  • Publication date: 10/28/2010
  • Series: Manga Math Mysteries Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,015,154
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: GN590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Melinda Thielbar is a writer, teacher, statistician, and student of the martial arts. Manga Math Mysteries, including The Kung Fu Puzzle and The Secret Ghost is her first children's series.

In 2005, Melinda left SAS to finish a PhD in statistics. She was awarded a VIGRE fellowship at North Carolina State University. This fellowship is awarded to students likely to make a strong contribution to education in the mathematics and statistics field. Again, Melinda earned a fantastic reputation in the classroom. Her statistics lectures and examples were known for their ability to hold her students' interest—no easy task in a statistics for non-majors class that's held at 8:00am.

Melinda lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, writer Richard Dansky, and their three cats. She is currently working on the research portion of her PhD.

Having grown up in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tintin Pantoja graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2005 with a BFA in Illustration and Cartooning. She has worked on a self-published webcomic/graphic novel called Sevenplains, Hamlet: The Manga Edition, three Manga Math books so far, and what would have been a graphic novel adaptation of Pride and Prejudice for Tokyopop. Right now Tintin splits her time between Manila, Philippines, and Jakarta, Indonesia, with occasional visits to Canada and the USA. Besides working for Lerner (which she enjoys), Tintin has several fantasy graphic novels that she's trying to get off the ground.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Manga and math make a great combination in this series

    oy, Sam, Amy, and Adam were watching Sifu Faiza demonstrate a Kung Fu move with swords with Sigung. She showed them the start of the move and the ending, but left out one of the parts. Sifu said, "If you only learn the starting and stopping positions, you're missing 1/3 of the move. The kids were all anxious to learn how to work the swords and were told that in that particular form there were 9 moves. They were 3/9 or 1/3 of the way through and Adam claimed that "Sword practice makes my wrists sore." They took a break to take a look at Sifu's Kung Fu journal to see if they could solve some of the puzzles her grandfather wrote down. It appeared that the puzzle was incomplete and there was an aura of mystery surrounding the puzzle. The next puzzle, figuring out the portions of a sports drink to have with their snack, was easy in comparison, but they still had to think. After they figured out the recipe, they had to figure out how to divide the mixture in fourths so everyone would get a cup. After snack time, Amy talked to Sifu Faiza about needing help with Sifu's grandfather's puzzle. Sifu said, "Everyone needs help sometimes. Even Kung Fu masters, like Sigung and me. Ask others for help when we're learning something new." Sifu Lelung Jan was a respected Kung Fu master, but he wanted to keep his formula for Jow, "Chinese medicine for Kung Fu students" a secret and had carved the formula into an ivory disc. This formula was the "puzzle" that everyone was having difficulty understanding as the formula was in eight wedges. Sifu Lelung carved the other side to look like a clock and burned his notes, but the formula was eventually stolen. They had a group discussion, but because they were still stuck, Sifu decided it was time to take a break. Soon it was back to working with the swords, but Sigung had a sudden burst of anger when Miranda walked through the door. She had two pieces of the puzzle in her hand, but was not to be trusted. Sigung was angry because she had stolen Sifu Leung's formula. There was a little evil lurking about because they would find that Miranda was up to no good. Would they eventually be able to find the missing pieces to the puzzle and figure out what the long lost formula was? This is a fabulously ingenious method of painlessly weaving clues and fractions, into a Kung Fu mystery. Most likely by the time most youngsters read this book they have been at least introduced to the concept of fractions. When they are incorporated into this mystery, the visuals of seeing them in action make them very easy to grasp. For example, the mysterious disc is divided into a pie graph. We subtly are introduced to fractions as a whole, adding fractions with like denominators, recognizing and comparing fractions, etc. This "Manga Math Mystery" is far from a thorough introduction to fractions, but will definitely take the fear out of learning them and hopefully will assist parents, teachers, and caregivers to help the student build a solid foundation for learning them.painlessly. Quill says: If you have a reluctant student who prefers manga to math any day, this is one exciting series you may wish to look into!

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