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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Math Attack, written by Joan Horton and illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker. Farrar, Douglas & McIntrye. 2009.$21.00 ages 6 and up

"I was thinking so hard all my circuits were loaded.
Then all of a sudden, my brain just exploded
And numbers flew out of my head by the score.
They stuck to the ceiling; they bounced off the floor!"

Poor young mathematician....she thought she knew the times tables until the attention turned to her. In what experts would call an 'temporary attack of dyscalculia' her ability to recall the answer to the question flies out the window (well literally, out of her head) and causes disruption for everyone around her. As the numbers fly past the teacher, she sends her young charge to the nurse for consultation. It isn't until the nurse asks for the whole story that it starts all over again...this time sending the nurse running for safety outside the school where the principal is megaphoning for help! The police arrive and get the same results while trying to get to the bottom of the problem. Oh, my!

The town is in disarray and no solution seems evident. Even the local news is called for an interview...they get first hand footage of the problem. Can the National Guard provide the help needed? Suddenly the gears in her head leap into action and everything falls back into place. Tranquility reigns. Until the next math problem is voiced!

This would be a fun book to include on your list of literature for use in the math class. I didn't know that dyscalculia was a diagnosis for those who have number difficulties and so, I found myself learning something is good! Kids will love the wildness of the illustrations as they chronicle the personal turmoil of our heroine, the confusion that results from out of control numbers, the satisfaction of finally getting it right and then, the consternation that she might be called on again. The mixed media artwork adds interest and will intrigue the observant reader.

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