Math Curse

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Overview

"As close to genius as one gets in a picture book."--USA Today

* An ABBY Honor Book
* ALA Notable Book
* ALA Best Books for Young Adults
* The Horn Book Fanfare
* Texas Bluebonnet Award
* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 1995
* School Library Journal Best Books of 1995
* Booklist: Editors' Choice Award

When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Arrgh! Does tunafish plus tunafish equal fourfish? A girl finds herself trapped in a math curse when her teacher tells the class they can think of almost anything as a math problem. Soon she sees math everywhere. Scieszka and Smith join forces again to create another lunatic masterpiece, and adults will writhe in sympathy as they remember their own math curses.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Whew! This latest whimsical work from Scieszka and Smith (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs; The Stinky Cheese Man) is bound to stretch out the old thinking cap. The day after her teacher announces, "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem," the narrator is afflicted with a ``math curse'' that affects how she views every facet of her day (``Everything seems to be a problem''). A minimum of the questions she asks herself are entirely logical ("How many quarts are in a gallon?''); some are far-fetched extrapolations (if an M&M is about one centimeter long and the Mississippi River is about 4000 kilometers long, how many M&Ms would it take to measure the length of this river?); and a happily hefty number are sheer nonsense: "I undo 8 buttons plus 2 shoelaces. I subtract 2 shoes. I multiply times 2 socks and divide by 3 pillows to get 5 sheep, remainder 1, which is all I need to count before I fall asleep." Like the text, Smith's wonderfully wacky collage-like art will give readers ample food for thought-even if it's part junk food. Here's a morsel: "Does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish?" Kids will want seconds-count on it. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
The two bad boys of "kiddie lit" have done it again! Their irreverent look at math and the way we teach it in school will delight anyone who has ever sat through a meaningless explanation of what happens when the two infamous story-problem trains speed away from their respective stations. Readers who appreciate a first class marriage of text, illustration, sense, and nonsense will love this book.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Sorry, Mrs. Fibonacci, but when you labeled everything a math problem, my mind couldn't cope. I loved arithmetic but word problems drove me crazy. If I wanted to know how long it takes a train to go from one place to another, I'd get a train schedule. Scieszka, a former math teacher, takes numerical enigmas and rejiggers them in this mind-boggling, hysterically funny book. The combination of art and text is a hoot. There is some legitimate math within the nonsense, but most of it is just plain fun. Read it aloud at your next faculty meeting in a deadpan, serious style. If no one laughs, fire them! Assignment: What is the significance of Mrs. Fibonacci's name?
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The duo who dare to be different take us into the world of numbers in this book. They combine math and literature and get the story of a young heroine whose questions multiply when her teacher, Mrs. Fibonacci, tells the math class, "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem." The young girl is spun into the world of mathematics. Problems she encounters include simple arithmetic processes, mathematical systems, money, measuring, and geometry. The mathematical facet of the book is equaled by playful references and humor, which gains the book exponential power. One could read Math Curse with a child as young as second grade and that child would enjoy the story at face value, but upper elementary and middle school mathematicians will better appreciate the humor and references.
School Library Journal
Spice up your classes with books by Greg Tang, an author who encourages kids to take a playful approach to math. Each book has complete explanations for the problems posed. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Do Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka make a whacky team? Do four quarts equal a gallon? Do 12 inches equal a foot? Yes, yes, and yes! Their wild and crazy homage to the story problem (Viking, 1995) is well-treated here. A young girl's math teacher, Mrs. Fibonacci, tells the class that you can think of almost everything as a math problem. Thus the week begins and soon every aspect of the youngsters' lives is dominated by the story problems that gave us all nightmares at one time or another. Measurement, fractions, probability…it's all here. Things start simply but degenerate in a surreal manner nicely reflected in Lane Smith's imaginative, bizarre, eye-catching illustrations that combine drawings with collage. They are scanned iconographically as well as animated for maximum effect while Nancy Wu's high-energy narration bounces from problem to problem. Original music enhances the text. The DVD includes a humorous interview with both Smith and Scieszka lobbing comments back and forth like a high-speed tennis match. Viewers may choose to watch the story with or without read-along subtitles. The CD includes Wu's narration and the original music, as well as a track for the "Math Curse" song. This is a zany presentation that pokes gentle fun at math, while pointing out how much it impacts our daily lives.—Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-From the inventive minds of Scieszka and Smith comes an unusual take on the subject of mathematics. More for the ``Time Warp Trio'' audience than for Stinky Cheese Man (1992, both Viking) devotees, Math Curse opens with the ominously simple statement, ``You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem.'' From that point on, the young narrator is overwhelmed with daily math. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, getting to school-everything involves addition, subtraction, measurement, probability, etc. Questions are boxed and numbered within the narrative, just as they might appear in a textbook. The questions, however, are not always typical workbook queries. For example, ``I take the milk out for my cereal and wonder: 1.How many quarts in a gallon? 2.How many pints in a quart? 3.How many inches in a foot? 4.How many feet in a yard? 5.How many yards in a neighborhood? How many inches in a pint? How many feet in my shoes?'' Some of the humor may have to be explained to readers. Kids will be able to figure out most of the problems on their own, depending on their grasp of fractions. Smith's illustrations are wild and rollicking. Combining drawings with collage, he creates a multi-textured school scene that reflects the narrator's confusion. Numbers are everywhere, but so are whimsical touches such as the individual expressions on the 24 cherries that adorn the class's cupcakes. This title can certainly be used as lighthearted relief in math class, but the story will be heartily enjoyed simply for its zany humor and nonstop sense of fun.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Children's Literature - Joan Kindig
There are those who like math and those that love math....and then there are those that HATE math! Everything about it is a challenge. It is as if, well, it is a curse! Written and illustrated by the team that brought you the Stinky Cheese Man and the True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, this book is funny from page one where a little girl is drawn into a curse by her math teacher's words: "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem." Yikes! From that moment on, everything IS a math problem and it is making her insane. She thinks of how many M&Ms lying side by side would run the length of the Mississippi River, how many pints in a quart, and how many ounces in a pint. Everything is madness. That is, until she figures out a way to make a whole (aka, hole) and she escapes from her math nightmare through the hole. So much of this is tongue in cheek and hilarious that it just might make a math lover out of you. Well, OK, maybe a math "tolerater." The movement of the animation makes the dreamlike bits in the book come alive in a way that print just could not do. It makes the DVD, a companion to the book, a perfect choice. The interview with the creators of the above mentioned books is worth acquiring the video even if you hate math. Running time: 15 minutes. Animation. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670062997
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 9/6/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 months - 8 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Scieszka
Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka is the author of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, the Time Warp Trio series, The Stinky Cheese Man, and a truckload of other books that inspire kids to want to read. His work as an elementary school teacher and as founder of a literacy initiative for boys (www.guysread.com) drove him to create Trucktown, a crazy, fun action series for the youngest readers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Best book for a math lesson

    Scieszka has some of the best books and Math Curse is no exception. This is a fantastic book to show kids that math is in EVERYTHING we do. The fly pages are excellent and there are interesting facts all over the jacket. Scieszka makes everything more fun and the poor child in the story is cursed with seeing the math in everything. But after a long day of dizzying math, he realizes that if you just "put the hole on the wall and jump out" that everything will be okay. This book can be used for just about any math topic and kids find it hilarious.

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Smart, clever & fun!

    My family loves this book! It's a great read aloud and it gave us an opportunity to talk about math in everyday life. Ihave 1 son who loves math and 1 who hates it but they both loved this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2007

    I LOVE THIS BOOK

    I used to read this over and over again in the library when I was 8. I am in college now and still remember it, but now I can appreciate its artwork evenmore. It's not bad illustrations at all- Lane Smith is inventive. I guess innovation turns off people, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2004

    A very unique math book

    This is one of the best written math picture books around. It imparts math concepts without hitting them too hard so kids are turned off. It's droll and the illustrations are fabulous. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    Book Summary

    The children¿s book Math Curse, by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is appropriate for children ages 7 through 10. There are no chapters. The words are pretty big. The book¿s setting takes place from the beginning of one day to the beginning of the next. The story relates to the study of math because everything becomes a math problem. If I were a math teacher, I would use it to teach math because it shows the importance of math. My opinion of the book is that it is funny and it really shows how math is a part of everyday life. The strength of this book is that it explains the importance of math. The weakness of this book is it¿s bad art. My favorite portion of this book is when she said ¿does tuna fish and tuna fish equal four fish?¿ My suggestion for a sequel is a Science version, because the story ends when she is in science class and her teacher Mr. Newton says ¿You know you can think of everything as a science experiment.¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2003

    GREAT BOOK

    I would definitely reccomend this book, especially for those students who complain why do we need math we are never going to use it. It gets students to see that math is all around them and it gets students to use their critical thinking skills with word problems they give!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2003

    Great motivation book about math!

    I used this book as a Halloween lesson to place a "curse" on my students. They all enjoyed this book. After reading it, I had all my students create their own math curses. This is a great book for a project to get students motivated about math!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2002

    Terrific Book

    WONDERFUL book! It makes a great read aloud book. Perfect for an audience of any age. I bought this book to read aloud to my high school math class and it's great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2001

    This book takes math to where it's never been before!!

    This book was exellent, I reccamend it to everyone that likes a good laugh. It is about a little girl that when her math teacher puts a curse on her she finds out that everything involves math, AHH! So read it yourself and i prommise you, you will like it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 1999

    Great book for the truely math cursed.

    This is ultimately a great book to give to those kids who just feel like they cannot continue on in math. Sure, math is frustrating, but we all have to go through it and that is exactly what this book shows. I would recommend this to any and everybody!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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