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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Boy Who Loved Math

Paul Erdos, the subject of the picture book biography, The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman may be unknown to many readers but  they might be interested to know that he was a mathematician  who's mother didn't  make him go to school, who took such good care of him that she even cut up his meat and buttered his bread for him. He did have to put up with Fraulein, the woman who took care of him when his mother was at work.

Paul developed a special interest in prime numbers, which this book defines: "Prime numbers are special.
They can't be divided evenly. A prime number can be divided only by itself and 1."

He eventually did go to school and then traveled to England to work with other mathematicians. He still didn't know how to butter his bread but learned how when he went out to dinner with other mathematicians.

As years went on, he found his way of living: as a house guest of the mathematician he was working with at the time. The mathematician's family would do things for Paul, like his mother had done: laundry, cooking, etc.

This  is an interesting book  about a fascinating man with math thrown in too.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days

 Now that school is just around the corner, it’s time to think of books that could be used to study how pioneers out in the American West made everything from scratch. Back then you couldn’t run to the supermarket because there weren’t any.
An excellent book for how they lived is LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the tale of the Ingalls family’s life in Wisconsin.
Pioneer life was hard. When Laura’s ma wanted to make cheese she waited until the cows were producing abundant milk and that happened when they had plenty of grass to eat. And then….
“Somebody must kill a calf, for cheese could not be made without rennet and rennet is the lining of a young calf’s stomach.” P. 186 LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS.
Laura was afraid that Pa would kill one of their calves but Uncle Henry agreed to kill one of his instead.   

If you live near Pepin, Wisconsin you could visit Laura’s birthplace during the annual festival held  this year September 14-15, 2013.