Math and cooking have always gone hand-in-hand, but McCallum takes it to a whole new level that allows young number lovers to explore (and eat!) a wide range of mathematical topics.
While the supply list and preparation time may preclude these from actually being assigned as homework, kids who are mathematically minded will enjoy snacking and learning their way through the recipes. Well-written and easily followed, the recipes include Fibonacci snack sticks based on the famous sequence of numbers, fraction chips made from cut-up tortillas, tessellating two-color brownies, milk and tangram cookies, variable pizza pi and probability trail mix. McCallum does not shy away from using appropriate vocabulary, defining it both in context and in the glossary at the back. She also includes fascinating historical tidbits that allow readers to see the precursors of today's math and the mathematicians that first explored them. Hernandez cleverly folds math into her illustrations, too—observant readers will notice the numbers emblazoned somewhere on each character, but only the mathematically informed will figure out their pattern. Her high-energy mixed-media artwork is filled with humorous details, while her cartoon rabbits are likely to remind kids of the Arthur cartoons. Excellent backmatter helps review concepts.
A yummy way to get parents and kids to more deeply understand math...and spend some time together in the kitchen. (index, table of contents) (Nonfiction. 7-12)
Gr 5–7—These edible math projects highlight six significant concepts. Each entry includes a brief narrative explanation, followed by cooking instructions that demonstrate the concept in a practical and hands-on way. From "Fibonacci Snack Sticks" (a simple, no-cook kabob recipe) to the more complicated Tessellating Two-Color Brownies" and "Variable Pizza Pi," the recipes will appeal to most youthful palates. The book is heavily illustrated with digitally enhanced cartoon-style pictures of anthropomorphic animals that, unfortunately, lend the presentation a younger tone than the content demands. Overall, though, larger collections may want to consider this worthwhile attempt to bring math learning into the classroom or family kitchen in a lively way.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL