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Saturday, November 21, 2015

I See A Pattern Here, by Bruce Goldstone. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2015. $20.50 ages 7 and up

"Since patterns repeat,
you can use them to
guess what comes next.

What bead would you
add to each string?

Look at the pattern
of beads on the string.
Which keeps the pattern

Bruce Goldstone's other books have considered estimation and probability (two mathematical concepts that are not as easy as one might expect for young learners). His exceptional photographs and clear writing help enormously when introducing such things to his audience.

In this book, he shows us the many patterns that we are sure to see when we put our minds to finding them. There are many places that provide examples of pattern in nature and in manufactured objects. Beautiful, often intricate, patterns enhance every page, filling them with color, interest and even awe. The language is simple and direct, encouraging mathematicians to look closely and think about what they are seeing in each of the many images.

In MathSpeak balloons, he provides further information concerning math words and concepts that are related to patterning:


The math word for slide is translation. That doesn't mean naming a shape in another language. In math, a translation is a move from one place to another."

There are so many examples of patterns, readers are sure to spend an inordinate amount of time searching them out when they have closed the book on its last page. They will also know more about slides, flips and folds. Questions are asked, instructions given, and growth in mathematical language is sure to result: translation, rotation, symmetry, scaling, tessellation, and more ...

"Another artist used a stencil to paint his temple wall in Laos. To make a stencil, the artist cut a pattern out of a thin sheet of paper or other material. Then the painter placed the stencil on the wall
and painted the part of the wall that showed through the holes. Finally the painter slid the stencil over and repeated."

In a final bold and colorful spread the author encourages his readers to find each kind of pattern that he  has introduced in this book. Finally, in backmatter, he provides encouragement to try a hand at creating our own patterns using blocks, stamps and cutouts. An answer key assures that there will no sleepless nights trying to figure out if we got it right, or not.

Quite beautiful and very useful, this book makes math more manageable for many young learners.

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