Math is the hardest subject for me to teach. I used to think I wasn’t good at it, but it’s more that it doesn’t come as naturally as words and language do. G seems to be repeating the cycle, as she’s convinced herself that math is “hard.” It causes her a lot of anxiety and I’m not keen on perpetuating that idea.
Our first attempt at teaching math in the traditional way failed miserably. She wasn’t interested in it, and it reminded her too much of kindergarten. So I set out to find resources that taught math in a more narrative, real real-life manner.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to review a fellow blogger’s new math-themed book. Lilac graciously sent me a copy of Math and Magic in Wonderland. I opened the package, set the book on the counter, and five minutes later G was engrossed.
G read it on her own first, then a second time with me. She enjoyed it so much that she asked to share her own review!
G’s review of Math and Magic in Wonderland
What is the book about?
Math and Magic in Wonderland is about two girls, Lulu and Elizabeth. They find a book called Mrs. Magpie’s Manual of Magic for Mathematical Minds, and end up going on an adventure in Tulgey Wood, solving puzzles on the way.
What was your favorite part?
I really like the puzzles, which are scattered throughout the book. They are very clever. I had to use logic and math to solve them.
Another favorite part is where Lulu and Elizabeth have to cross a river with a pig, a wolf, and a cabbage inside a leaky boat. I thought that part was so funny!
Basically, I think the whole book is wonderful.
What makes the book interesting?
Again, it’s the puzzles, But the setting, the characters, and-of course-the math, are pretty cool, too. You can even “play along” with the puzzles and earn points to become “math royalty”.
Who are your favorite characters?
That’s a tough one. Probably Lulu because she’s so smart. I also like Elizabeth and Mrs. Magpie, too.
Who do you think should read this book?
I think anyone should read it, because, it is a very good book. But especially people who want to get better at math.
And what do I think? I think Lilac is brilliant, for one. The puzzles are engaging and vary in difficulty, offering opportunities for challenge and success. The references to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland are subtle and beguiling, especially for a Carrollphile like me. While I think I would have enjoyed more understated and complex character development, Lulu and Elizabeth are darling heroines whose penchant for imaginative play reminds me of my own daughters. I also would have enjoyed a more immersive experience in Wonderland: the book’s characters are so clever and unique that I wanted to see the world through their eyes.
Despite those drawbacks, Math and Magic in Wonderland is great fun. We loved reading it, and I love that my daughter had two smart, positive female role models to work alongside in her quest to solve Mrs. Magpie’s riddles. I plan to read this with my younger daughter when she is a bit older, and I definitely will recommend it to my own homeschool group as a worthwhile title. Pick up your own copy here and work your way through Wonderland’s math and magic.