Review: Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map
Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map, the seventh book in the series by Cindy Neuschwander, will intrigue adventurers in grades 3-5.
Per and her cousin, Radius, become lost in Angleland. Hearing Bad Old Barnaby and his band approaching, they hide inside a house in a knoll. The discovery of an ancient map decorated with two "axes" leads them on a journey in search of Viking Xaxon Yellowbearyd's treasure. With a little trial and error, and a few close calls with Bad Old Barnaby, they learn to read map coordinates, meet XY's ghostly warrior, and find the hidden treasure. The epilogue provides further details about X and Y axes and the origins of coordinate geometry.
Upon hearing of this brand-new publication (February 1, 2012), I immediately requested a review copy. I thoroughly enjoy the Sir Cumference series, but was also intrigued by the focus; very few children's books cover the basics of coordinate geometry. With the development of the Common Core State Standards, fifth graders are required to "Graph points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world and mathematical problems" in Geometry 5.G.1 and 5.G.2. Books such as Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map gently introduce math concepts through familiar characters. The book also stimulates children's natural curiosity; I could see this book enticing children to make their own "adventure maps" as they head out to explore the playground.
One more item of note. I appreciate the publisher, Charlesbridge, for its consideration of the current economy. I know few other publishers who make both hardcover and paperback copies available upon initial printing.
Enjoy this adventure!