Cindy Neuschwander's Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland (A Math Adventure)
illustrated by Wayne Geehan
Book review by Ramona Heikel
Sir Radius, earning his knighthood by degrees
Here is an ingenious way to make learning about circles, diameters and angles a palatable experience.
In Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland, we find the young man Radius hard at work with his teacher, old Sir D’Grees, practicing to be a knight. Soon his parents, Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter, send Radius off on his first quest with the encouragement to remember his knightly right angles. They give their son the mysterious circular medallion, a family heirloom.
“What are all these numbers around the edge of the medallion?” Radius asks.
“No one knows,” Lady Di answers, “but may it bring you courage on your journey.”
Radius sets out on a hazardous expedition to find a missing king over the Mountains of Obtuse, and in the courtyard of a castle he comes upon a parchment with poetic clues. He uses the clues with the medallion to navigate through a dangerous underground labyrinth full of tunnels and various angles.
Radius discovers the missing King Lell and his two dragons, who always stay side by side, the same distance apart, and point the same direction. At the cry of “Pair of Lells”, these dragons form a living drawbridge—a little tongue-in-cheek education about the lines that make up rectangles and parallelograms.
What an entertaining story, and as a bonus we now know all about 90 degree right angles, obtuse angles, and cute little acute angles. Along the way, we also find that we have a better understanding of the history of England, and its medieval castles.
Some of the art on the pages, done in rich acrylics and oil, seems suitable for framing. The book even comes with a free medallion, the same as the one used by Sir Radius, for the reader to use to measure angles.
Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland is such fun—a heroic quest and an easy way to absorb math concepts, all in one story!
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