MOLLY AND THE MATHEMATICAL MYSTERIES: TEN INTERACTIVE ADVENTURES IN MATHEMATICAL WONDERLAND, by Eugenia Cheng and Aleksandra Artymoska, Big Picture Press, March 30, 2021, Hardcover, $24.99 (ages 7-10)
Eugenia Cheng’s Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries: Ten Interactive Adventures in Mathematical Wonderland is just plain cool.
Join Molly as she ventures into a curious world where nothing is quite as it seems. A trail of clues leads from scene to scene, presenting Molly with a number of challenges. But who is leaving the clues, and where will they lead? This interactive mystery shows math isn’t just about numbers — it’s about imagination! An explorative and creative approach to the world of mathematics. — Synopsis provided by Big Picture Press
Since the day it arrived in my house, Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries has held wide interest. The title and cover immediately caught my 7-year-old’s eye. In fact, I’ve had to keep the book hidden so that she doesn’t hide it from me!
From the beginning, Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries goes beyond numbers and equations. In fact, it begins with: “Math is really about exploring ideas and using our imagination. It’s a way of making sense of the world — or of making seemingly impossible things possible.”
The adventure begins with turning things inside out, followed by impossible objects, hidden shapes, endless doors, cubes, carpet weaving, counting combinations, symmetry, fractals, and time as a fourth dimension. Each topic flows into the next, so it should be read from front to back rather than jumping around. A section with more math at the end helps readers look beyond what’s in the book.
I can see multiple uses for Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries. It would work well in a home-school setting or during the summer to keep minds fresh. The interactive nature of the book will appeal to more tactile readers/learners. Most importantly, even though the book is educational, it doesn’t feel like it’s educational, making it a fun option for kids who like puzzles and mysteries.