Cindy Neuschwander's Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry
illustrated by Bryan Langdo
Book review by Ramona Heikel
Solving the mystery of the mummy with geometric solids
Math and adventure stories are two of my favorite things, so I was thrilled when I found both in one book. With a great imagination and sense of humor, the author tells a great detective tale with an intermingling of mathematical concepts. Think: Indiana Jones meets your math teacher.
In Mummy Math, Matt and Bibi’s family are off to Egypt. Their parents are famous scientists helping to find the mummy of an ancient pharaoh. When the children and their dog accidentally get locked into a pyramid, though, they decide to try to find it themselves.
They are looking for the mummy of a king who was called The Pharaoh with Many Faces. But there is more than one kind of face! Matt and Bibi find drawings and hieroglyphics on the wall which give clues to find the pharaoh by studying various geometric shapes. Along the way, as a bonus, we get to learn a lot about Egyptian tombs.
In order to come out of this alive, Matt and Bibi need to look closely at the shapes and count their flat faces to find the safest route through the pyramid and out to safety.
For the older readers, the plot will be predictable, but if someone told you that you had to learn something about solid geometry and ancient Egypt, this would be a fun way to do it. The art is cheerful, and immediately draws the reader in. I’m sure you’ve guessed that the author is a teacher. Since she hated math when she was young, she wants to help children understand math ideas more easily through her stories.
At the end of Mummy Math, a note to parents and teachers gives suggestions of fun ways to teach about geometric solids, such as the ones in the book, which include spheres, tetrahedrons, cubes and rectangular and triangular prisms. Readers can’t help but come away with a better understanding of these three-dimensional shapes and a smile at how the mystery was solved.
Webmaster's note: Cindy Neuschwander also wrote the Sir Cumference math adventures, one of which is also reviewed by Ramona. Fun way to learn math!
Read more of Ramona's reviews.
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