cover image Terrible Times Tables

Terrible Times Tables

Michelle Markel, illus. by Merrilee Liddiard. Cameron Kids, $17.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-944903-75-6

This “modern multiplication primer” takes readers through various scenes in a school year, all set to the lilt of a rhyming multiplication table. From “Back to School” (the 2× tables) through “End of the Year” (the 9× tables) and plenty of moments in-between, Markel highlights the minutiae and milestones of the classroom with humor. In the chapter dedicated to the Winter Pageant, “6 × 4 is 24/ The babies cry. The parents snore,” and “6 × 5 is 30/ These risers don’t feel sturdy.” Liddiard’s accompanying spot illustrations, drawn with an expressive, inky line, convey entertaining moments throughout (“4 × 1 is 4/ Sam pukes. Sam pukes some more”). The rhymes are at times clunky, but the overall mnemonic effect remains engaging, and the book closes with a simplified multiplication chart, making this a valuable resource for the reluctant mathematician. A charming addition to any math teacher’s toolkit, and a diverting prompt for students learning their not-so-terrible times tables. Ages 6–9. [em](Aug.) [/em]