Of all the books I have read in the "Math Fun" series, If You Were A Times Sign, along with If You Were A Divided-By Sign, are the ones I liked the least. The symbol used to show multiplication is called a multiplication sign. Why not call the operation symbol by its proper name? I have never understood why we must come up with terms other than the ones that will last children a lifetime, as they go from primary school to high school and on to college and life. It is not any more difficult for a six or seven year old to learn the term "multiplication sign" than it is to learn "times sign." Some elementary educators, when teaching youngsters the parts of a sentence, insist on calling the subject "the naming part" and the predicate "the telling part," a practice I find silly, unnecessary, and just plain confusing. To her credit, the author does call the result of a multiplication operation by its name: a product. But when the reader encounters the term "divided-by sign," the confusion continues as division is addressed. Introducing primary math concepts in an engaging manner with clever illustrations is a worthy endeavor; however, it seems counterproductive to water it down with weak terms. The title of this otherwise pleasant book should have been If You Were A Multiplication Sign. The illustrations are colorful and playful, but the text skips through and skims over multiplication references without giving enough thought to the fact that multiplication is a lifelong skill. I liked the multiplication table and the challenge problem using pennies towards the end. Terms such as digit, division, multiplication, product, and symbol are defined, as are "times sign" and"divided-by sign." Finally, on the last page, one finds a glossary, an index, a list of related books and websites, and a list of all the books in the "Math Fun" series. Reviewer: Jane Singleton Paul
When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a girl, she wanted to become a superhero. Her mother gave her a Wonder Woman costume. Her dad crafted her a tiara and bracelets out of metal to match. Trisha imagined she could fight evil, fly an invisible airplane, and get anyone to tell the truth. While she didn’t grow up to be Wonder Woman, she still uses her imagination to write stories and to teach creative writing.
Trisha has taught creative writing to children and adults for thirteen years. She has published 26 books for children, and more are forthcoming. She has an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Trisha currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Stephen, and their cat, Eartha, named after Eartha Kitt, famous for her role as Catwoman.