If you spend any amount of time around me, and by that I mean about five minutes (sometimes less), you'll realize pretty quickly that I hate math. Hate it. Abhor it. Can't stand it. Oh, sure, I'm pretty positive that I use it occasionally, most of the time without even knowing it. But if you ask me a math-related question, I'm likely to give you a blank-eyed stare of confusion. Case in point: The other night my son, who will be ten years old in a matter of days, asked me the square root of 64. After the aforementioned blank-eyed stare of confusion, he proceeded to tell me that "square root" means a number that can be multiplied by itself to get the answer. Yes, there was more staring and more confusion. "Like the square root of sixteen is four, mom, because four times four is sixteen. And ten doesn't have a square root, because you can't multiply any number times itself to get ten." Oh, yeah, I knew that. Not.
So when I received my copy of MATH DICTIONARY (whose additional title, by the way, is "The Easy, Simple, Fun Guide To Help Math Phobics Become Math Lovers") I was hit with feelings of both trepidation and wonder. Needless to say, I'm still not a math lover, but I think that with the help of this book, I can at least convince my son that I do, in fact, know the basics of mathematics.
MATH DICTIONARY is an A to Z list of some of the most common terms you'll hear in a math classroom. Although the book doesn't cover advanced calculus or any of the hard-to-pronounce mathematical theories that the guy on the TV show Numb3rs likes to spout, it does cover basic mathematics, geometry, algebra, and even statistics and probability. It's all there, from abacus to longitude to zero property of multiplication--and everything in between.
Although MATH DICTIONARY might not turn you into a math lover, it will keep you amused with its "Did You Know?" facts, which are actually quite interesting. It can be used as a handy reference guide to all school-age children, especially those delving into the harder mathematical arenas. And, for parents like myself who are outsmarted by fourth graders, it can definitely keep you from looking stupid. Or as un-stupid as parents can possibly appear to their children!
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"