Teaching Children Mathematics
The Milo & Jazz Mysteries: The Case of the Superstar Scam, Lewis B. Montgomery, 2013. Ages 7–11, 112 pp., $6.95 paper. ISBN 978-1-57565-519-2. The Kane Press; www.kanepress.com.
Second- and third-grade students would love to follow Milo and Jazz, detectives in training, as they organize facts to solve mysteries in this fun and interesting book for young readers. A group of students, including Jazz’s brother, are members of a fan club for the show Super Starr. When the show comes to their ordinary town, the “Woofs,” or Westview Fans of Super Starr, all receive mysterious letters. The letters inform them that if they turn in their commemorative limited-edition picks, which are identical to the ones that Starr uses in the show, they have a chance to appear on her show. Milo and Jazz do not understand why this opportunity would be offered to everyone, when only one person would be able to appear on the show. As they investigate, they use Venn diagrams to organize the facts and attempt to solve the problem. This book is great for demonstrating real-life uses of Venn diagrams, and it encourages the reader to draw conclusions and use logic. The suggested age level for the book is 7–11 years. Six- and seven-year-olds thought it was very exciting and could hardly wait to discover the truth. However, fifth graders lost interest quickly. The book has plenty of opportunities to have meaningful discussions that encourage students to problem solve and make judgments. This would be a wonderful addition to the library of a teacher who is looking to connect math and literacy objectives. However, the math content is minimal for the length of the book, and I would not recommend using it strictly to introduce Venn diagrams. Overall, it is a great read that kept young students’ interest and had many teachable parts.—Brandilynn Picciano, New Century International Elementary, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
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