# Math Curse

Author Jon Scieszka Lane Smith Jake Scott Lane Smith United States English Mathematics Children's books Picture books Viking Press 1995 32 978-0-670-86194-1 32589625 [E] 20 PZ7.S41267 Mat 1995 Science Verse

Math Curse is a children's picture book written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith, suitable for ages six through nine years. Published in 1995 through Viking Press, the book tells the story of a student who is cursed by the way mathematics works in everyday life.

## Plot summary

The nameless student, begins with a seemingly innocent statement by his math teacher- "you know, almost everything in life can be considered a math problem." The next morning, the hero finds himself thinking of the time he needs to get up along the lines of algebra. Next comes the mathematical school of probability, followed by charts and statistics. As the narrator slowly turns into a "math zombie", everything in his life is transformed into a problem. A class treat of cupcakes becomes a study in fractions, while a trip to the store turns into a problem of money. Finally, he is left painstakingly calculating how many minutes of "math madness" will be in his life now that he is a "mathematical lunatic." His sister asks him what his problem is, and he responds, "365 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes." Finally, he collapses on his bed, and dreams that he is trapped in a blackboard-room covered in math problems. Armed with only a piece of chalk, he must escape-and he manages to do just that by breaking the chalk in half, because "two halves make a whole." He escapes through this "whole", and awakens the next morning with the ability to solve any problem. His curse is broken...until the next day, when his science teacher mentions that in life, everything can be viewed as a science experiment.

## Math Problems

The book is full of actual math problems (and some rather unrelated questions, such as "What does this inkblot look like?"). Readers can try to solve the problems and check their answers, which are located on the back cover of the book.