By Lynda Colgan, Kids Can Press,$16.95, 40 pages

10Amazed by others who can solve math problems in their heads? Want to be like them? Here’s some great news: you, too, can master methods used by ancient people to compute answers, as if by magic. You’ll appear to be a math wizard in no time! Linda Colgan’s Mathemagic! Number Tricks presents math that will astonish your family and leave your friends guessing.

Presented in the form of magic tricks, these techniques are easy to learn. You’ll read how the Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese used sticks, bones, ivory and horns to create counters, throwing dice and problem solving tables. Each “trick” is developed for you, step-by-step. With practice, you’ll master the skills quickly. A favorite trick is Roll ‘em! An audience member pulls two dice from a hat. Next, they stack them up, one on top of the other. Mathakazam! You name the sum of the dots on the three unseen sides. The sides are exposed and added. You have correctly named the total! Everyone is baffled. You’ll be taking bows in no time. Reading Mathemagic! Number Tricks adds up to lots of self-confidence and equals enjoyment for you and the sum of all those you dazzle with your tricks.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin