Scott Flansburg is the author of the bestselling book Math Magic. His lectures and his video, Turn on the Human Calculator in You, have helped countless children and adults learn the power of math. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
This book, whose author (Mathmagic: The Human Calculator, LJ 5/15/93) may be a familiar face from his TV infomercials, is supposed to be used by parents to help elementary school children master arithmetic with whole numbers from one to 12. Yet it is hard to imagine any parent actually making it to the end of this exercise, as it plods through the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of each individual number, one at a time, using extremely repetitious cartoon illustrations to take up space along the way. Flansburg's naïve pedagogy doesn't seem more imaginative or encouraging than the type of exercises found in ordinary textbooks. The presentation is jumbled, and some of the instructions seem poorly thought out, as when he illustrates division with a picture of two shoes divided by two other shoes (it may make sense for addition, but how do you divide shoes into each other?) or suggests as an activity: "Take your children to the library and introduce them to the stories of Washington Irving" (what does that have to do with math?). Not recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/96.]‘Amy Brunvand, Univ. of Utah Lib., Salt Lake City