CURS 4240U Lecture Notes - Marilyn Burns, Numeracy, Quadrilateral
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September 25, 2012
Critique of Children’s Literature
We chose to critique The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns, published in 1994. A picture
of the book’s front cover is attached to the submission.
Based on our responses in the General Reflective Checklist, this book has merit as
defined by the numeracy criteria. It fulfills all criteria apart from the requirement to
“integrate multiple math concepts or strands”. Because it only investigates shapes, it is
slightly limited in its scope of math concepts, and only explores the sides and angles of
various polygons, as well its application in the real world. However, it integrates correct
and accurate math concepts and incites inquiry within its readers without becoming too
When examining the book based on literacy criteria, The Greedy Triangle excels. It is
creative and engaging, and stands alone as a story, while incorporating mathematical
concepts. The main character, the triangle, has a distinctive personality, and the
illustrations are colourful and bright so as to draw in the reader and hold his or her
The story follows the adventures of the triangle as he is dissatisfied with his role as a
three-sided figure, and consecutively visits the shape shifter in order to gain one more
side and one more angle. In this way, he becomes a quadrilateral, a pentagon, a hexagon,
and on and on until he has too many sides to count. Finally, he decides he enjoyed his
life better as a triangle, and asks the shape shifter to return him to this original form.
This story is appropriate for all ages, and because it has a strong plot, it has the power to
capture the attention of older kids as readily as it does younger kids.
This book is also appropriate for students who are skeptical or anxious about learning
math, as it does not bombard him or her with complicated math language. Rather, there
is a gradual progression as the author artfully integrates story with math to create a book
that has a “Wow Factor”. Because the characters are shapes, rather than people, this
book is devoid of stereotypes, so it is worthy of a special place within the classroom or
school library. We would absolutely read this book again and again and would
recommend it to fellow colleagues, as it is a perfect book for a grade one 'Shapes' lesson
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