Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems by Lee
Lee Bennett Hopkins has put together a collection of poems about mathematics from such authors as
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, David Mcord, Joan Bransfield Graham and J. Thomas Sparough. There are several poems that keep
to the simple mathematical theme, such as "Calculator" being a "pocket-size tutor" (Dotlich), and "Fractions" which
talk about "broken number pieces" by Hopkins herself to those of the not-so-simple mathematics of the "Pythagoras".
Hopkins has included Betsy Franco's Math Makes Me Feel Safe. This poem takes
a unique point of view of a youngster who feels safe knowing "that my brother will always be three years younger...and
every day of the year will have twenty-four hours". Mary O'Neill's, Take a Number, brings suspence to
everyday life living without numbers. " No dates or feet,/No hours running through Days or Nights/Wouldn't it be awful to
live like that?"
This rhymming and free verse collection of math poems would be pleasing to have and enjoy
sharing for someone who loves teaching math to children. If your like me, and do not care for math, then you would probably
be better off keeping your money and borrowing it from the library.
Karen Barbour has created vivid and rich gouache paint and opaque watercolor illustrations
using greens, yellows, blues, pinks, and reds all outlined in black. Barbour's illustrations contain many Asian
aspects including Asian people, Asian type hats, boats and camels. She also includes Anglos and African Americans, but
they are in lesser numbers.
Children will enjoy deciphering the picutres of the uniquely colorful animals, clocks rolls around
and figuring out the math problem on Sammy's head in Beverly McLoughland's SOS more than they will enjoy reading
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 1997. Maverlous Math. Illus. by Karen Barbour.
New York: Simon & Schuster Books. ISBN: 0689806582.