Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Monster Who Did My Math

Mayer, Bill (Illustrator)
Peachtree Publishers 2007. 32 pages
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9781561454204 (hardcover)
9781561456680 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

A boy who is afraid of numbers is up one night struggling with his math homework. When the clock strikes midnight, a monster appears, offering an irresistible deal: the menacing apparition will do his homework for him. They sign a contract and the boy opts to pay later, and pay he does. In this humorous cautionary tale, a boy gets more than he bargains for and learns to face his fears in the process.

Written in delightful rhyming verse, the language is playful, clever and lends itself well to reading out loud. “There once was a time I was frightened by numbers./They scared me at school, and they haunted my slumbers./My brain had some kind of allergic reaction/To multiplication … addition … subtraction.” Math words like “graphed,” “solved,” “addends” and “sums” are used in context and make math relevant to everyday life and problem solving.

Caricatured illustrations, created with a combination of airbrushed gouache, dyes and digital techniques, are highly effective and entertaining. Using oversized cartoon eyes, exaggerated facial expressions, sinister shadows and clever framing, the fears and point of view of our arithmaphobic protagonist are captured vividly.

When the boy is called upon to solve a math equation in class and is unable to do so, the monster’s time is up, yet the boy discovers he enjoys problem solving after all. The monster’s demise, as the boy conquers his fears, is particularly triumphant.

  •  

    Discuss things that you have postponed, put off, avoided doing. How did that turn out for you?

  •  

    Write interview questions for the monster. What motivates him? How will he benefit from cornering kids? Discuss your questions and answers with a partner.

  •  

    Write in your reader-writer’s notebook about the moral of the story. How does what you learn here apply to other aspects of your life?

  •  

    Choose a fear that you have (speaking in public, meeting new people, etc.) and write your own story with a fear monster. How will you face your fear?

  •  

    How do you feel about math? Are you scared when faced with math problems or do you feel confident?

  •  

    Is the fear of math similar to the fear of using/speaking English? What can you do to overcome your fear?

  •  How are translation websites or applications the language class “monster”?
  •  

    Role play a child with math anxiety, with another student playing the monster. They have to get along and become friends again. How will they resolve their conflict? They will both have to admit what they did wrong. Explore the idea of “facing your demons.”

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Mathematics