I heard about the I Love Math series through the Living Math website awhile back, but I didn’t immediately bite and buy them. Despite their praise-filled reviews, I couldn’t quite get a handle on what these looked like and what they might contain. Because they were sold as Time Life book sets about twenty years ago, I suspect you’re unlikely to find them in many libraries (they weren’t in ours). However, I finally bought a couple of them – Look Both Ways and Do Octopi Eat Pizza Pie? and was glad I did.
Each book has a lot of different things all around a central theme. The theme in Look Both Ways is cities. There are mathy poems and stories that take place in cities, math puzzles and problems, and math games. Different parts of the book are done by different illustrators and writers in somewhat different styles. One page is photos of buildings encouraging readers to find different shapes and look at symmetry. Another page is cartoon animals in a story about directions through the city. The table of contents as well as small notes at the bottom of some of the pages explain what math is being covered by various activities, such as odd and even numbers, addition and subtraction, geometrical shapes, money and so forth. In some ways, we’re already past these, which is too bad. I think they’re mostly K-3rd grade math and some of the things in them will be too simple for Mushroom and BalletBoy. However, they’re appealing to kids and have a sit down and browse feel. They introduce some solid concepts so I may get more, especially for Mushroom. You know, as if we didn’t have enough living math books already!