History of Counting

Overview

Drawing on years of research, a renowned archaeologist traces the evolution of counting. She shows how the concept of numbers came about, how various societies answered the question "How many?," and how our modern-day decimal system was developed. Engrossing and enlightening, this fascinating book introduces children to one of our most important inventions.

00-01 Utah Book Award (Informational Books)

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Overview

Drawing on years of research, a renowned archaeologist traces the evolution of counting. She shows how the concept of numbers came about, how various societies answered the question "How many?," and how our modern-day decimal system was developed. Engrossing and enlightening, this fascinating book introduces children to one of our most important inventions.

00-01 Utah Book Award (Informational Books)

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council

Describes the evolution of counting and the many ways to count and write numbers.

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Editorial Reviews

Tricia Gardella
It's hard to imagine our world without numbers. We'd have no cars, no rockets, no phones, and no computers. But how did numbers come to be? Designed with accessible text and illustrated with textured acrylic paintings, this book draws the young reader into the history of numbers and counting. A glossary and index make this book a useful celebration of math concepts during Mathematics Education Month and all through the year.
Mailbox Bookbad Magazine
New York Times Book Review
Denise Schmandt-Besserat, a world-famous archaeologist at the University of Texas, is generally credited as being the person who, through her discovery of physical number systems (clay tokens from Sumerian civilization, first put together our current understanding of the origins of modern number systems. . . Numbers, and the way we represent them, are so much a part of our lives that you have to step back to realize that, like language itself, they are a truly remarkable invention. Such 'stepping back' and reflecting is rarely done outside the college philosophy class. Despite its brevity - just 41 pages of text - 'The History of Counting' provides a fairly comprehensive coverage of the whole field of number systems in general and the Hindu-Arabic system in particular.
Children's Literature - Dr. Beverly Kobrin
Children will discover the story behind numbers when you hand them this book by archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat. She explains how the indication of "how many" and its calculation may have evolved from the general to the abstract--from words to numbers. Readers will be surprised to learn that though Arabic numerals and the decimal system arrived in Europe around the 11th century, it wasn't until the middle of the 17th century that they were accepted by the general public! Michael Hays' acrylics enhance Ms. Schmandt-Besserat's coherent account.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-One strength of this title is the cultural context into which the information has been placed so that children will understand not only how numbering and counting have evolved over time but also why. Some of the phrasing and several of the cultural examples are sophisticated but for the most part the information has been well adapted to a young audience. The book begins with a brief introduction that defines counting and numbers and then moves on to a historical overview. Hays's attractive paintings, done in acrylic on linen, successfully interpret the concepts explained in the text. It would be a shame if older children dismissed this book because of its picture-book format, since they are unlikely to encounter a better explanation of the subject. There are some fine older, out-of-print books that convey much of the same information, but nothing in recent memory explains the topic quite so well.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688141189
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 496,950
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 940L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Hays is the illustrator of several books for children, including Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger and Hello, Tree! by Joanne Ryder. He lives in Oak Park, IL.

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