The Lost Key: A Mystery with Whole Numbers

The Lost Key: A Mystery with Whole Numbers

by Melinda Thielbar, Tintin Pantoja
     
 

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At Sifu Faiza's Kung Fu School, kids learn to be strong and fast. They also learn to be smart, cool-headed, and honest. So Joy, Adam, Sam, and Amy are surprised when the key to the school is stolen - as well as all their kung fu gear. Now they'll have to use all kinds of calculations - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - to figure out the clues,

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Overview

At Sifu Faiza's Kung Fu School, kids learn to be strong and fast. They also learn to be smart, cool-headed, and honest. So Joy, Adam, Sam, and Amy are surprised when the key to the school is stolen - as well as all their kung fu gear. Now they'll have to use all kinds of calculations - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - to figure out the clues, follow the thieves, and find . . . The Lost Key.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Joy, Adam, Sam, and Amy attend a kung fu school where they learn to be smart, cool-headed, and honest. One weekend, the school master entrusts Joy with the key to the school. When Joy discovers that the key is stolen and the school is ransacked, she enters into a world of desperation as her teacher’s trust in her is compromised. The four students use addition, multiplication, and division to discover what they already know about the theft to move forward in their pursuit. However, the same repetitive math problems appear continuously throughout the text and the writing seems to be overly detailed when it could be easily minimized. Illustrations (minus speech balloons and text blocks) give readers clues to the solving of the mystery before the students at the kung fu school do. The artwork is manga-inspired with more American-style colors. While the book is best suited for higher level transitional readers, the plot comes across as one long drawn out math story problem. Ages 8-11. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5–This series is purported to help children with math skills. Friends from a martial-arts school use easy-to-see clues to solve mysteries. In The Lost Key, the students count shelves, multiply the number of jump ropes and mitts, and subtract the number of pairs of shorts they have to determine what is missing from the school. The math is too simple for the audience that might pick up the books. The artwork is vaguely mangalike but more cartoonish and looks as though it was drawn quickly with spare detail. The stories are thin and dull, and most children will solve the mysteries long before the conclusions.–Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Math teacher Melinda Thielbar teams up with manga artists to create this first book in the "Manga Math Mysteries" graphic novel series. When kung fu student Joy is entrusted with the school keys by her sifu (teacher), she is horrified when the keys are stolen by a local kid who sneaks into her school and steals all the kung fu gear. Now Joy and fellow kung fu students Adam, Sam, and Amy, must use the smelly old uniforms the thieves left behind to learn who stole their gear—and how to get it back. Using some basic math and deductive reasoning, the kids reason out where the uniforms must have come from and where the thieves could have taken their gear. It is a simple story told in the style of PBS Kids Go! educational cartoons such as Cyberchase, although some readers may wonder about some of the plot holes (would the kids' teacher really let the kids solve the mystery on their own without reporting her school's break-in, theft and vandalism to the police?). Still, one has to give Thielbar credit for showing young kids some of the practical ways basic math and logic can be used to accomplish tasks such as taking inventory or figuring out directions. Reviewer: Michael Jung

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761352440
Publisher:
Graphic Universe
Publication date:
08/28/2010
Series:
Manga Math Mysteries Series
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
1,402,888
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
GN370L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Melinda Thielbar is a teacher, statistician, and economist who has written mathematics courses at many different levels. In 2005, Melinda was awarded a VIGRE fellowship at North Carolina State University for doctoral candidates "likely to make a strong contribution to education in mathematics." She expects to complete her PhD in 2010. Melinda lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, author and videogame programmer Richard Dansky Born in Manila in 1980, Tintin Pantoja received a BFA in Illustration and Cartooning from the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2005, Tintin was nominated for the Friends of Lulu "Best Newcomer" award and was a finalist in Tokyopop's Rising Stars of Manga 5. Her past projects include a graphic novel adaptation for young readers of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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