Susan Midlarsky

author • consultant • tutor | inspiring excellence
Books Math Education Singapore Math

Book Review: You Can Count on Monsters


Today in my Math Mavens program, we opened the book You Can Count on Monsters by Richard Evan Schwartz for the first time. This is a book I bought because I heard glowing reviews of it on NPR.

The concept of the book is teaching prime and composite numbers through colorful, geometrical monsters. It is written for any age, from preschool on up, and my students really appreciated it. They had a lot of fun looking at the monsters, spotting the prime monsters hidden inside the composite monsters, and describing what they saw. For example, one said the 20 monster looked like “two innocent two-monsters held in custody by evil nacho chips.”

For fans of Singapore Math or number bonds in general, you will also appreciate how each number is represented with a number of dots, the numeral, and a factor tree for composite numbers. All in all, it makes a powerful set of connections for students between numbers, images and fun.

The book covers numbers 1 through 100, with an introductory section that explains factoring, prime and composite numbers, and how the book is designed, all with colorful images and not too wordy. A section in the back has a further exploration of prime numbers. A wonderful enrichment for any math education!

To see inside or order the book on Amazon, click below:


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