Safari Park: Finding Unknowns (MathStart 3 Series)


It's 4 tickets for the Treetop Coaster! Just 2 for the Elephant Twirl! five cousins each have 20 tickets to spend at Safari, and a little algebra will tell them how many rides they can try. But who will dare the death-defying Terrible Tarantula?

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It's 4 tickets for the Treetop Coaster! Just 2 for the Elephant Twirl! five cousins each have 20 tickets to spend at Safari, and a little algebra will tell them how many rides they can try. But who will dare the death-defying Terrible Tarantula?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The "MathStart" series has been created by a visual learning specialist with an interest in teaching math. Each of the books tells a story with the purpose of teaching a specific math concept. Safari Park is a Level 3 book, exploring the concept of finding an unknown. This concept is critical to developing algebraic thinking. Grandpa has taken all of his grandchildren to Safari Park. Paul really wants to ride the Terrible Tarantula. Grandpa bought 100 tickets and gave each of his five grandchildren 20 tickets. Paul lost his tickets right away, so all of the other children promised Grandpa they would take Paul on one ride. As each of the kids goes on a ride, there is an illustration of how many tickets have been used up and a question mark for the number of tickets remaining to equal the original 20. As the day goes on, Paul is concerned about whether there will be enough tickets left for his ride on Terrible Tarantula. The tickets are running out, but Paul manages to win 36 tickets and take everyone with him on his favorite ride. Each book in this series has instructions for parents and students at the end, including related activities, in this case giving the kids 20 pieces of paper to use as tickets when they read the story or rereading the story using another number of tickets. 2002, HarperCollins, $15.95, $15.89, and $4.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Kristin Harris AGES: 7 8 9 10
School Library Journal
All five children can enjoy the rides, games, and food at the new amusement park when Grandpa shows them how to solve simple equations. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Murphy's introductory math concept endeavor is tailor-made for the picture book format. In this case readers are asked to find the unknown element in a number sentence, which works along the lines of a simple algebraic equation. Murphy frames his story as a trip to the amusement park in which one of the kids loses his tickets and the other four must donate some of theirs to him. Each kid has 20 tickets and all the rides require a different number of tickets, so the kids have to add up the tickets required for their rides, then add or subtract from 20, meanwhile figuring in the ride they are donating to the ticket-loser. For example, if Alicia wants to take 5 Rhino Rides at 2 tickets each, plus a couple of Monkey Games at a ticket apiece, what unknown number does she need to make 20? As the numbers are relatively small, this can be carried out in the reader's head (nor does it hurt that Murphy's explanations are crystal clear). The rides look like they could be a lot of fun too, as depicted in Bjorkman's whirling, caricaturish artwork. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064462457
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Series: MathStart 3 Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 177,869
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.81 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart J. Murphy is a visual learning specialist. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he has a strong background in design and art direction. He also has extensive experience in the world of educational publishing. Drawing on all these talents, Stuart J. Murphy brings a unique perspective to the MathStart series. In MathStart books, pictures do more than tell stories; they teach math.

Stuart J. Murphy and his wife, Nancy, live in Boston.

This is Mike Gutch's first children's book other than his unpublished "book" he wrote in third grade about New York State, which coincidentally is where he resides, in the town of Pelham, just outside of New York City. Mike lives with his wife and four children. When he's not making peanut butter and honey sandwiches for them or working for the Man, he's enjoying the great outdoors. If you'd like to send him a note on the book or advice on how to get anything unstuck, you can email him at

Steve Bjorkman has illustrated more than seventy books for children, including the New York Times bestselling Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy, Emily's Everyday Manners by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning, I Hate English! by Ellen Levine, and Safari Park by Stuart J. Murphy. He also creates greeting cards with his brother, Carl, and together they have sold millions through Recycled Paper Greetings. Steve lives with his wife and three children in Irvine, California.

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