Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dyna-Math! Math Attack by Joan Horton

It was Monday at school and our teacher Miss Glass,
Announced, "Now it's time for arithmetic, class.
Can somebody tell me what's seven times ten?"
She was looking at me when she said it again.

I was thinking so hard all my circuits were loaded.
Then all of a sudden, my brain just exploded.

A temporary attack of dyscalcula causes our heroine a catastrophic overflow in the number processing part of her brain. Numbers spew forth, stampeding her classmates, who dash out of the room to escape the ricocheting digits. The nurse begins her triage with a question about causation.

But every time our heroine repeats the problem which caused the eruption, more numbers flood forth. The police are called, but when she repeats the offending problem to the investigating officer, the renewed cascade of numbers sends the police scampering. Downtown the numbers bounce and stick to everything, driving the dogs to bark exponentially, totalling telephone numbers and setting the town clock bonging madly. Down at the town grocer's, Millie's cash register spouts amounts which change all the prices in the place.

Back at the school, the Channel8 News
Arrived with their TV equipment and crews.
"We're live from the school," the anchorman said.
The camera zoomed in for a view of my head.
"How did this happen?" he asked me. "And when?"
I told him, "It happened on seven times ten."

Just as the National Guard appears, only to run for their lives, the heroine gets the gears turning upstairs, and out pops the product in question from her overheated brain.

"Three cheers!" yelled the crowd. "At last," Miss Glass sighed.
"Ten-four," said the cops. My classmates high-fived.

There are not many picture books out there which can provide a fun introduction to (or respite from) times table drill for the third-grade math class. Joan Horton's Math Attack! is a clever story in rhyme which diagnoses a serious problem of math block, with Kristen Brooker's lively and humorous illustrations which are sure to multiply the laughs from primary math classes all over.

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