Saturday, November 1, 2014


Cunningham, Kevin.  Numerals.  Morgan Reynolds  2013  64p     $27.45  ISBN 978-1-59935-396-8  ms/hs  series: The Biography of Numbers  Nonfiction  E-BN

This book tells the history of counting and the visual representation of numbers through centuries and various cultures.  It’s an engaging volume that will provide even the well-read reader with new facts related to numbers. The student will become quickly engaged in reading about this usually dull, dry topic because the text is extremely well written, with just enough fact interspersed within the historical context of the need for a system of counting that would allow people to go from zero to millions and beyond, and would facilitate calculation using simple and complex math concepts. It is also a fascinating look at the way written language preceded the written representation of how much and how many.  By bringing in current examples from banking, calculation devices, calendars, and the building of large structures, Cunningham shows us that we take for granted the things that ancient civilizations struggled to explain and calculate.  The description of the advances made by ancient civilizations in the realm of mathematics make this book a perfect supplement for ancient history classes and studies of India and the Middle East.  Colorful illustrations and examples of ancient writings help keep the reader focused.  Outstanding short history of numbers.           

The Biography of Numbers consists of four titles written in an engaging style with colorful illustrations.  A quick history of mathematics and the use of numbers.  Famous people who developed concepts, practical applications of numbers, and a timeline.  Gr. 6-12.   

History of Mathematics, History of Numbers            --Lois McNicol

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