Student Review: The Number Devil by Hans Enzensberger, ctd.

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The Number Devil by: Hans Enzensberger is a children’s literature book about a boy named Robert who has twelve dreams that give him a better understanding of mathematics. Robert creates this imaginary man, the number devil, to help teach him about math. As Robert better understands math, he begins to enjoy it more and more.

Throughout Robert’s dreams he gains a better understanding of how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply all different kinds of numbers, like about hopping numbers, bonacci numbers, and triangle numbers. Each dream has a different location; for instance, one night they shrink to the size of bugs and are in a field of grass, and then the next night they are trapped in a cave. Though the setting is unpredictable the book's concepts build on each other becoming more complex each night.

The author did a very good job of teaching the reader all of the math in the book, but he rarely ever called the concept by its real name for instance I had to look up what he meant by bonaci numbers, and hopping numbers are really squared numbers. Another thing that bugged me is that the material in this book is at a ninth grade math level, but is written in a elementary reading level. The book’s plot line was weak because of this, it was too simple. I lost my interest to finish the book very quickly. The characters, the actions taking place, all of it was very childlike and irrational. It would have made a better book if it had a more in depth plot or on a higher reading level.

Although I did not enjoy this book, I think that many kids in elementary school who are in advanced placement or would like to learn more about math would love this book because it is so silly and unpredictable. Maybe even parents or teachers could read this book to their kids almost like tricking them into learning through an amusing story. You would like this book if you like… math and simple plot lines you will love this book.
- Kamy, RRHS Student