Monday, June 23, 2008

Living Math Monday: The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

We had a week off this week, as the older kids were at Grandma’s. Today I will review another book recommended on the Living Math site.

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas is a book of math activities that children will enjoy. Penrose is a cat that belongs to a mathematician. The mathematician is always working on lesson plans and mathematical drawings, and Penrose becomes interested in these papers. He dreams that the drawings and numbers come to life and talk to him. This part of the book seems awkward to me. My daughter was enchanted at first, she loves anything with talking animals, but it soon got old, and she didn’t end up finishing the book.

The book introduces higher math concepts, and each chapter is rather short, with activities at the end of each chapter. When needed, answers can be found in the back of the book. The activities are designed to be fun and to get kids thinking about the math concepts that are introduced. Sometimes I had to help my daughter to grasp the concept by paraphrasing what had happened before she knew how to get started on the activity. I didn’t mind having to re-explain the math concepts, but I think that part was a weakness of the book, where it could have been a strength.

We liked this book for the activities, but we found the part about Penrose the cat to be tiresome after a few chapters. We have found another book with some of the same concepts in a more fun, kid-friendly format. I will review that book next week.

Be sure to read my other Living Math posts.


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