Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert
Cindy Neuschwander, author
Cindy Neuschwander is a native Californian, but she has lived in many places, including Germany, England, Austria, and Hawaii. As a mathematics education specialist, Cindy sought ways to make math fun, interesting, and comprehensible to her students. In 1992, while living in England, Cindy began working on her first book with this goal in mind.Sir Cumference and the First Round Table took five years to reach publication, but it remains a very popular book for its presentation of math concepts as well as for its amusing and exciting story. It has been followed by further adventures of Sir Cumference and his family. In her spare time, when she isn't writing or dreaming up new math adventures, Cindy enjoys activities with her family.
Read more about Cindy.
Wayne Geehan, illustrator
Wayne Geehan, a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, has been illustrating books, board games, and jigsaw puzzles for over 20 years. When he isn't painting in his Massachusetts studio, he enjoys being with his family, reading, and researching his family's genealogy.
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- AAAS's Science Books & Films Best List
Reading Today Online
This humorous story offers one explanation for the origin of pie charts and bar graphs while serving up some possible mathematical or culinary career choices for youngsters. Two talented bakers compete for the honor of preparing the Harvest Sweet for an annual celebration. In order to determine the popular favorites as the townspeople taste their wares, both bakers keep tallies, one marked with lines in flour on a table and the other with pinches of dough. But their records are ruined by their cat and dog that respectively dash through the flour and gobble up the dough. Still, they need some way to record their patrons’ favorite choices and eventually come up with their own strategies that will be animal-proof. The male baker stacks cookie molds, one for each different type of cookie preferred by his customers, while the female baker arranges different colors of candies around a circular, pie shape to record the results. Thus, the results will be visual, and easy to understand. The story will hold readers' attention while the acrylic paint illustrations fit the story well. The relish with which the townsfolk and the animals savor the desserts is palpable. Math has never been so sweet.
Teaching Children Mathematics, NCTM
Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert is one of eight books in Neuschwander’s series of mathematical adventures. This time, the medieval-style characters are embroiled in a bake-off of statistical proportions to determine this year’s Harvest Treat for the upcoming Harvest Faire. Pia from Chartres offers the best pies in town, and Bart Graf makes an assortment of cookies, but how to determine a winner? Ultimately, the pie graph and bar graph that are constructed, showing favorites among the pies and cookies respectively, make the selection obvious. Geared for grades 4–6, most of Neuschwander’s previous books help introduce and reinforce geometry concepts. In this book, she does the same for data analysis. Filled with delicious puns, the text is engaging and accurate; Geehan’s detailed illustrations enhance the mathematical information presented and promote a sense of fun. Fourth graders will think they themselves are unlocking the secret to the puns of “Pia from Chartres” and “Lady Di of Ameter,” whereas older students will simply groan. In either case, the mathematical concepts will most likely be remembered.
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 9 1/2