- Reading level: 3 - 8 years
- Hardcover: 48 pages
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (25 June 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596433078
- ISBN-13: 978-1596433076
- Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 1 x 26.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos Hardcover – 25 Jun 2013
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“Erdos's unconventional brilliance shines through on every page, and extensive author and illustrator notes (including Pham's explanations of the mathematical concepts she works into each illustration) will delight readers with even a fraction of Erdos's interest in math.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“*An exuberant and admiring portrait introduces the odd, marvelously nerdy, way cool Hungarian-born itinerant mathematical genius.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“An infinitely creative and entertaining book.” ―The Horn Book
“Pair this with Don Brown's Odd Boy Out (BCCB 10/04) to compare genius eccentricities, or hand it to middle-grade lovers of math puzzles--opened to the notes.” ―BCCB
About the Author
Deborah Heiligman has authored many books for young readers, out of which the most-famous one being Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith. This book was a National Book award finalist. The author lives in New York.
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I bought this book for my daughter, in order to initiate her into the world of Mathematics via the extraordinary story of this man as the bedtime storybook. This book also serves well in order to understand what true passion & devotion to one's trade can be... In short nothing can be too much in Paul's world. You can read a story, get motivated, treat it as a self improvement guide, whatever role you throw at it, it converts itself to the T.
The illustrations are pleasing on eyes, narration easy for the kids of all ages to understand (more of the summary of documentary named "N is a Number") and a great library item for generations. Priced a bit high for Indian pocket, people generally don't like to spend almost INR 900 for a 50 page book. But then, not everyone wants to know Mathematics or about its heroes either.
Highly recommended for all, big kids can also read the fat version of this book (sans illustrations but with much, much more content) called "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" by Paul Hoffman.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It definitely promotes an interest in math. My three-year-old asked in the first reading what negative numbers were. I told her they were numbers that were less than zero. She then asked what numbers were less than negative numbers. She also asked what prime numbers were and why they were special (I didn't have a very good pre-K answer for that one). You don't get that sort of conversation with other children's books.
On the other hand, Paul Erdos himself was a pretty strange fellow, and the plot of his life doesn't make for obviously engaging children's reading. The part my three-year-old connected with the most was the part where Paul doesn't want to go to school because he doesn't want to be away from his mama, and he doesn't like rules. And the workaround that his mother comes up with is to homeschool him (lesson: if you hate rules and love your mama, she'll stay home with you all the time). That's not necessarily the sort of lesson you want your kid learning. My daughter also didn't connect with "Uncle Paul" as he grew up into a strange old man who couldn't even eat dinner without help from others. Having said that, she definitely likes the book and has asked for repeated readings (although she sometimes asks me to skip the parts where he's an old man).
So, five stars for making a math-y book that is engaging for kids, and three stars for the sometimes strange life lessons of Paul Erdos, for an average of four stars.
The text is simple but delightful, and the story of a boy who doesn't like to sit still will surely sit well with restless children. The mathematics in the story is simple (prime numbers cannot be evenly divided) and well explained, with hints at deeper math drawn into the buildings (a diagramatic proof of R(3,3)=6), and detailed explanations provided at the end (yes, those are the harmonic primes!). This is an excellent book to spark a child's curiosity, no matter what her interests might be.