Math Potatoes : Mind-stretching Brain Food

by Greg Tang, Illustrated By Harry Briggs

Scholastic Press
July 2005

Ages 7 – 10 . Grades 2 – 5

Library of Congress: 2004016638

Lexile measure: NP

DRA: 34

Guided Reading: O


Greg Tang is back with his bestselling approach to addition and subtraction: problem solving. By solving challenges that encourage kids to "group" numbers rather than memorize formulas, even the most reluctant math learners are inspired to see math in a whole new way! Math Potatoes is full of Tang and Briggs' trademark humor, wit, and extraordinary creativity. Tang has proven over and over that math can be fun, and this new addition to his acclaimed series of mind-stretching math riddles is sure to be another hit.
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.


  • Booklist 5/1/5-05 The seventh in Tang's math series, which includes The Grapes of Math (2000),this picture book uses all kinds of visual tricks to demonstrate how to make
    arithmetic faster and easier. On each double-page spread, a rhyming verse has fun with a variety of subjects. Most rhymes are about foods-including pickles, potatoes, and "flat- jacks'7--and the clear, bright, computer-generated pictures are as playful as the words. This goes far beyond the usual simple counting book. The games are complex, the visuals are tricky, and although the rhyme seems straightforward ("Instead of adding row by row/ Columns are the way to go"), it requires readers to think carefully about adding, subtracting, and multiplying. "Imagine eight in every row / Just subtract and you will know." The spacious, illustrated answer pages at the back explain the puzzles, which will be fun for classroom use as well as for kids trying to find shortcuts in the counting jungle.
    -Hazel Rochma



Jacketed Hardcover / Smyth

ISBN: 9780439443906

40pp. | 9 x 10