Math-terpieces : The Art of Problem-Solving

by Greg Tang, Illustrated By Greg Paprocki

Scholastic Press
July 2003

Ages 7 – 10 . Grades 2 – 5

Library of Congress: 2002005361

Lexile measure: NP

DRA: 20

Guided Reading: L



In his most ground-breaking book since THE BEST OF TIMES (Fall 2002), Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns, will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH-TERPIECES, Tang continues to challenge kids with his innovative approach to math, and uses art history to expand his vision for creative problem-solving.
Greg Tang

Greg Tang was tutoring math in his daughter's class when he noticed something interesting about the dominoes they were using. Each white dot had a pencil mark on it, which meant the children had been counting them one at a time. Mr. Tang taught them to look for patterns instead, and to add and subtract groups of dots in order to calculate the dominoes' value quickly. From there, he developed a new method of teaching arithmetic in a visual and spontaneous way. His method teaches both computational and problem-solving skills, and is so fun and challenging that children forget they are learning math! He believes that all kids are capable of doing well in math, and he has a mission to make math a natural part of every child's life. He has successfully taught his method to children from ages five to ten.

Grapes of Math and Math for All Seasons are part of a series of books that will help children gain the range of skills needed for higher math. His books challenge and encourage children to use creativity and common sense to solve problems, rather than formulas and memorization.

Greg Tang has an impressive mathematics background. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from Harvard, and he also holds an M.A. degree in Math Education from New York University. He has applied his problem-solving methods in building successful companies and products in a variety of industries. Greg Tang currently lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with his family.


  • School Library Journal
    (August 1, 2003; 0-439-44388-1)

    Gr 1-5-In his fifth visual math adventure, Tang uses the artwork of 12 famous painters as an aid in developing problem-solving skills through grouping. Each spread features a quality reproduction on the left side. The poem underneath it highlights an item in the picture and presents a math query. For example, on the spread titled "Dancing Shoes," illustrated with Edgar Degas's Ballet Rehearsal on Stage, readers are asked to combine the colorful pictures of varying numbers of ballet shoes on the opposite page into several groups of seven. ("Can you make 7 with these SHOES?/THREE clever ways earn rave reviews!") Clearly written solutions to these exercises are given at the end of the book along with art definitions and brief explanations. This math-concept book is far more appealing than most.-Nancy A. Gifford, Schenectady County Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

    Publishers Weekly
    (July 28, 2003; 0-439-44388-1)

    Greg Tang presents the fifth book in the series begun with The Grapes of Math, Math-terpieces, illus. by Greg Paprocki. Under a reproduction of a well-known painting, a rhyming text gives information about the artist and poses a mathematical challenge to group objects in various ways; for example, "April Showers" features a Renoir painting titled The Umbrellas, and asks readers to group different numbers of umbrellas to make nine. An inventive way. Kids can bone up on their addition skills while getting an introduction to art history. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
    Booklist July 1st, 2003
    Tang and Paprocki, who also wrote and illustrated The Best Of Times (2002) and Math Appeal (2003), again challenge children to take a playful approach to learning Math, using elements from famous paintings by anists such as Matisse, Mondrian, and Warhol. For instance, one double-page spread has a reproduction of Dalf's painting The Pers,.stence of Memory and the verse, "Is it a dream or is it rea1? / It's hard to know when art's surreal. / Dali's clocks once so precise- / now they're melting just like ice. / Find SEVEN ways to make an 8 / group the CLOCKS, it's getting late!" Paprocki's more colorful versions of melting clocks are grouped on the facing page, and the groups can be combined in seven different ways that add up to eight clocks. Children drawn to the gamelike element will undoubtedly become more familiar with the paintings, though the main point is combining the sets of objects. This book provides an attractive setting for that activity. -Carolyn Phelan

    Kirkus Reviews June 1st , 2003
    The author of several other highly praised math books has another winner in this combination of math and art history. Each two-page spread contains the reproduction of a famous painting identified by artist and date, a series of rhymed couplets describing the painting and proposing a problem, and a series of objects from the painting that are to be grouped and counted in various ways. A Monet water lily painting is accompanied by several groups of water lilies, and instructions to "Try grouping LILIES to make 8, / FOUR smart ways would be just great!" Dali's Persistence of Memory is accompanied by a verse entitled "Time Warp," which includes these lines: "is it a dream or is it real? It's hard to know when art's surreal." Attractive and intriguing.



Jacketed Hardcover / Smyth

ISBN: 9780439443883

32pp. | 9 x 10