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The title and format of this book might lead you to think that it's either about responsibility - or it's a basic 1-2-3 book for those just starting out on the numbers journey. It isn't: it's a hymn of praise to maths. It's about why maths is so wonderful and how you meet it in everyday life.

Count on Me by Miguel Tanco

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A hymn of praise to maths which is going to inspire most children to learn more. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: September 2020
Publisher: Tate Publishing
ISBN: 978-1849767347

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I'll introduce you to our heroine first: she's called Katherine, after Katherine Johnson, the American mathematician who helped to send astronauts to the moon. Katherine knows that people have obsessions. Her father is a painter, her mother an entomologist and her brother a talented musician. Katherine has tried all sorts of occupation: acting, ballet, cooking, painting and all sorts of other things but they're not for her. What she really loves is maths: she knows it's hidden all around us and she loves finding it. She gives us a quick demonstration of what she sees in the playground, at the lake, at the art gallery, through the window and in the playroom. She loves solving difficult group problems. This might sound very complicated and clever but it's not actually: it's just a different way of looking at the world.

Then Katherine shows us some of her maths. I have to warn you that the next time you go for a walk in the park your children are going to be looking for fractals and the house is going to become a polygon discovery zone. Concentric circles are not going to be just about tree rings: they're going to be about onions sliced in half and stones thrown in the lake. Those building blocks in the playroom which are used to create strange buildings are all going to have names.

When I was at school I failed to pass any maths exams: I had a maths teacher who said that girls were no good at maths and I lived up to all his expectations. Strangely enough, I have always been good with numbers. At school, I could get the right answers but I struggled to explain how I got there: to me, it was 'just obvious' but there were no marks for that and I quickly gave up bothering. After reading Count on Me I felt inspired about the possibilities which maths offered for the first time in more than half a century and I can imagine that a lot of children are going to feel the same way.

Tate Publishing publishes books with high production values: this is an elegant hardback which is going to stand a lot of reading. It'll pass on to siblings or down the generations and whilst we have a heroine, the subject matter will interest both girls and boys. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

I can imagine that it won't be long before your budding mathematician is moving on to Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures by Ian Stewart.

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