________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 21 . . . . June 20, 1997

Tangram: Discovery Box Series.

Lars Klinting.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic, 1997.
32 pp., hardcover, $15.99.
ISBN 0-590-92672-1.

Subject Headings:
Problem solving.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4


The tangram pieces are called tans. The object of tangram is to create different shapes using the tans. That can be tricky because you must use all seven pieces to make each shape! You can make more than 1,500 different designs.
Weather Tangram, an activity book that uses a hands-on approach to teach children the magic of mathematics, contains a brief history, an explanation and examples of tangrams, and challenges for children to develop their understanding of this ancient Chinese puzzle game. The publisher has packed the contents into a 32 glossy-paged 13 x 15 cm. book that has a cardboard box of the same size attached to it. The box slides out, revealing 4 tangrams ready for play.

      Tangram is part of the Discovery Box series published in North America by Scholastic. The series, originally a French publication, includes: Plants, Weather, Light, and Colour. Children, with an adult's assistance, can gain a lot of understanding of basic scientific principles from these interesting volumes.

      The books have tables of contents, and the information is well organized, being divided into 2 page segments and clearly explained. However, as the concepts are not easily understood by the youngest age child in the target audience, an adult will need to participate to have the children both understand the science being taught and feel a sense of accomplishment with the tools contained in the box. Children aged 9 and up should be able to follow the instructions and complete the experiments without too much assistance. A concluding glossary elaborates on difficult words.

      Each page is brightly illustrated, and information about the subject is simply explained. Often a question based on the information is asked with the answers printed upside down. In Tangram, children are challenged to mimic animal shapes with the enclosed shapes. In the other books, children are advised to observe plants at certain stages, taught how to use a prism, and are invited to collect and measure rainfall. The objects contained in each box are engaging for children (the weather gauge is a whale) and quick and easy to use.

      Each book in this series would make a good gift for a child interested in discovering science. Not only will children playing with these books learn basic information about the subject matter, as well as some miscellaneous trivia, but they will have a good time doing so. These books are very appropriate for a family oriented activity, for rainy days, and are just the right size to take to the cottage this summer.

Highly recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher-librarian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364