Review of The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Reviewed by Max, age 12.
The Number Devil is a mathematical adventure about a boy who hates numbers and math problems until a number devil appears in his dreams. The book is about the boy being taught to do math by the Number Devil in very creative ways.
I think the chapter that explains about zero is the most interesting. It talks about how without zero, math would be VERY difficult and problems would take a long time to write out. He explains that the reason math problems in Roman Numerals take so much time to write out is because they have no zero. Numbers such as MCMLXXXVI can now be written 1986. Our number system is much easier!!!
The Number Devil also talks about: the importance of ones, the importance of zero, and about raising numbers to a higher level by “hopping”. “Hopping” is when you raise a number to a higher power. The author discusses division and multiplication, number chains, reducing numbers to a lower level, then he talks about triangles and sums, Fibonacci numbers, and much more. The Number Devil takes an interesting look at a number of mathematical concepts. It is a great book and I really enjoyed reading it.
Reviewed 5/18/04 Also see reviews at http://math.cofc.edu