The Greedy Triangle
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The Greedy Triangle

4.4 7
by Marilyn Burns, Gordon Silveria

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Kids will get their early math skills in shape with this bestselling picture book--now available in Scholastic Bookshelf!

Bored and dissatisfied with his life, a triangle visits a local shapeshifter to add another angle to his shape. Poof! He becomes a quadrilateral. But then he gets greedy and keeps adding angles until he's completely transformed. Kids will


Kids will get their early math skills in shape with this bestselling picture book--now available in Scholastic Bookshelf!

Bored and dissatisfied with his life, a triangle visits a local shapeshifter to add another angle to his shape. Poof! He becomes a quadrilateral. But then he gets greedy and keeps adding angles until he's completely transformed. Kids will enjoy this boldly colorful introduction to shapes and basic math concepts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of The I Hate Mathematics Book celebrates geometric shapes in this informative but visually cluttered addition to the Marilyn Burns Brainy Day series. Her main character, a triangle with gleaming black eyes and a perky grin, leads a full life-it can take the shape of a slice of pie or rest in an elbow's angle ``when people put their hands on hips.'' Yet the triangle aspires to greater complexity, so it asks a ``shapeshifter'' to turn it into a quadrilateral (the shape of a TV or a book's page), then into a pentagon (a house's facade) and so forth. Burns fails to show that the triangle is ``greedy''; it's just adventurous. But her story successfully introduces basic polygons, and her afterword to adults suggests ways of teaching children some of the finer points about geometry (e.g., the concept of a plane or rhomboids). For his picture book debut, Silveria chooses tart shades of yellow, orange, lavender and green. His airbrushed colored-pencil compositions have suitably angular details; speckled paint and multicolored doodles soften the effect but create a sense of disorder. If the art as a whole is somewhat jumbled, readers still come away from this volume noticing and naming the shapes of the objects around them. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Burns, a prolific author and respected educational consultant, has written a story that not only teaches about geometric shapes, but also entertains readers of all ages. Offbeat cartoons illustrate the zany goings-on with a triangle who, becoming bored with his appearance, attempts to add excitement to his life by visiting a shapeshifter. Readers and their adult partners will learn some math vocabulary here; and more importantly they'll get to share in the triangle's ultimate realization of its own worth and beauty.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-An offbeat introduction to geometry. When a triangle tires of having only three sides, he asks the shapeshifter to change him first into a quadrilateral, then a pentagon, a hexagon, and so forth until he realizes he is happiest as a triangle: he can hold up a roof, be a slice of a pie and, best of all, slip into place when people put their hands on their hips. ``That way I always hear the latest news...which I can tell my friends.'' The text is clever and shows more than the usual places to find shapes-part of a computer screen, a section of a soccer ball, a floor tile. The acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations are colorful, abstract, and filled with smiling shapes done in shades of turquoise, pink, and yellow. A two-page spread of suggestions for adults to reinforce the math lessons featured is included at the end of the book.-Christine A. Moesch, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, NY

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Scholastic Bookshelf Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Author and math teacher Marilyn Burns is noted for her many books that instill an interest and enthusiasm for mathematics into her school-age readers. Her books use traditional and original literature to address mathematical concepts. In addition to her instructive children’s books Marilyn is the author of many books for teachers. She has also written books for children about food, time, and Hanukkah. She says that her writing career began as a “fluke” when a friend asked her to write a book about math. This was the jumping off point for her literary career, during which she has written about a dozen books for children and the same number for teachers. She currently gives lectures and lessons in schools. Burns was born in 1941 and resides in Sausalito, CA.

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Greedy Triangle 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Jane54 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to use as a math lesson with a connection to literature. So many children hate math until they see it presented in a different way and can make a connection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 'Greedy Triangle' wants to be this shape and then that, but in the meantime, your child is learning. New to kids and a refresher for adults.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The greedy triangle wants to change into different shapes. You should get this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Greedy Triangle is a most unusual book in that it will appeal to three age groups, 4-5 year olds, those learning polygons for the first time, and for adults who never felt that comfortable with geometry. The book opens up the reader's mind to seeing geometric shapes all around, while providing a simple basis to remember the differences among polygons (they each differ in having one angle and side more or less than the most similar polygon). 'Once there was a triangle that was -- as most triangles are -- always busy.' The book points out some of the many frequent places where triangles can be found such as 'holding up roofs, supporting bridges, making music, catching the wind for sailboats, being slices of pie . . . and more.' 'The triangle's favorite thing, however, was to slip into place when people put their hands on their hips.' This last refers to the space between the arm and the body. The triangle likes this shape because 'that way I always hear the latest news . . . which I can tell my friends.' And his friends like that. But the triangle finds this boring at some point, and seeks the help of a shapeshifter to become a quadrilateral. Ennui recurs and the former triangle moves through a transition successively into a pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, and decagon. For the first few shapes, the book outlines places you find these shapes in nature and human-made objects. A connection is also made as to whether those shapes provide juicy stories to tell friends. There is adult humor, such as noting about not being able to tell secrets learned at the Pentagon. Eventually, this all becomes self-limiting. 'Its sides were so smooth it had trouble keeping its balance.' 'Its friends couldn't tell which side it was on and began to avoid the shape.' The shape fell down a hill. 'It felt tired and dizzy, lonely and sad.' 'I want to be a triangle again.' The shapeshifter said, 'I'm not surprised.' The book has an excellent guide in the end for parents, teachers, and other adults. This includes great exercises to extend this knowledge for your child. This section also explains the terms more precisely, and defines an undecagon (11 sides) and dodecagon (12 sides). The illustrations are in bright, electric versions of pastel colors that effectively emphasize simple shapes in their most abstract forms. I was impressed by the sections that use examples of the shapes. Some of them I had never thought about before. This is a great way to stimulate subconscious learning. I also enjoyed the many 'punny' expressions, obviously designed to amuse the adult readers. If you don't like puns, you will probably think the book is a little corny. The book's only weakness is that the story is too predictable. That limits its appropriateness for older children. They need more complications in their stories. Since the book is aimed 4-8 year olds, it doesn't hurt a bit for the 4-5 year olds but will lose you some 6-8 year olds. This predictability is fine for new geometry students, because getting to read something more interesting than a textbook is a thrill at that point. For permanently polygon-puzzled adults, the book will seem very down-to-earth and accessible. I also suggest that you ask your child to extend the contents of this book to identify other shapes that are not polygons (such as circles) and specific types of polygons (such as squares, parallelograms, and trapezoids). You can use the exercises in the end of the book towards these shapes, as well. Reshape your perceptions of polygons! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution