Friday, July 26, 2013

The Boy Who Loved Math - Deborah Heiligman

The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Roaring Brook Press, 2013
Ellsworth Library 
40 pages
Goodreads rating: 4.46
My rating: 5 - Awesome book on many counts
Endpapers: prime numbers on a greeny/brown
Title Page:  Double pages, the same greeny/brown with 4 Erdos-as-a-kid, writing those prime numbers...
Illustrations:  Colorful, fun, the actual NUMBER (8, 1, 2....) incorporated as often as possible.

1st line:  "There once was a boy who loved math.  He grew up to be 1 of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived.  And it all started with a big problem..." 

My reaction:  What an incredibly fascinating person. I'm so glad I've found some picture book biographies that lessen my ... dislike ... of nonfiction, and that someone had the insight to write about Paul Erdos. The books and illustrations complement each other in such a way that it seems like one person might have created a book on her own. And Erdos (AIR-dish) was ultra-interesting. Especially to a math lover (me). Prime numbers, the sieve of Eratosthenes, and my new favorite discovery:(Erdos's, actually), that there is always another prime number between a prime number and its double. Fascinating, interesting, and fun! I will definitely be purchasing this book for my classroom to use both with my author studies AND math.

Goodreads:  "Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it's true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path. At the age of four, he could ask you when you were born and then calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head. But he didn't learn to butter his own bread until he turned twenty. Instead, he traveled around the world, from one mathematician to the next, collaborating on an astonishing number of publications. With a simple, lyrical text and richly layered illustrations, this is a beautiful introduction to the world of math and a fascinating look at the unique character traits that made "Uncle Paul" a great man."

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