Marvel Heroes: Second Grade Math Made Easy (DK)

Background

DK Publishing, Inc. is very likely the most prolific English language publisher of "popular fact" books for the kid/kid-ult market. Their tie-in encyclopedias and sticker-books for Lego, Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and many other hot properties are all over the shelves in bookstores worldwide.

I have regularly picked-up their high-quality Spider-Man and Marvel sticker books, but this "Math Study" book is something new.

Story Details

  Marvel Heroes: Second Grade Math Made Easy (DK)
Summary: Spider-Man Appears (200pp)
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Consultant: Alison Tribley
  Marvel Heroes: Fourth Grade Math Made Easy (DK)
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Consultant: Alison Tribley

I have managed to acquire both the 2nd Grade Math and the 4th Grade Math versions. Both were published in 2007 and both are identical in structure being 200 page, 8.25" x 11.7" square-bound in glossy card. Original pricing was US $15 each.

At the front of each book there's one page of small "progress" stickers and four pages of "progress chart" with a list of all the work pages and their topic with a space for the sticker to be placed once the page is completed. Then follows the 155 pages of actually study content (all in full colour), and 40 pages (in black and white) of answer sheets (in reduced size, four per page).

General Comments

There is one study topic per page, and each page features a Marvel character (hero or villain) usually with a quote motivating the student to higher achievement: "Don't Waste My Time!" says Carnage, disturbingly. "Be a good Soldier!" says Captain America, imperiously. "I'm coming for you!" says Cyclops, somewhat inexplicably.

Are these books useful? Well, I'm no expert in mathematics – I barely finished my Honors degree and just scraped through with low-80's on my final year papers (multi-dimensional linear algebra 401, applied calculus 405, and complex calculus 408).

But to my semi-trained eye, these pages look clean and bright and appealing. The tasks seem to be clearly stated, balanced difficulty, and with reasonable variety throughout the book.

Overall Rating

I do like DK's books. I like the quality, the attention to design and colors. I like the generosity with page count, paper stock, binding, and supplementary content such as stickers.

They're not super-super-cheap, but I think they're great value for money. And I have seen some examples where the writer clearly didn't know their Spider-Man lore properly, but mostly the text content is generic and harmless.

These Math Made Easy books are nicely done. They're visually appealing, and pleasingly substantial. The Marvel characters are only there for decoration, of course. But they're a nice visual layer pasted on top of a substantial scholastic product.

Footnote

Getting hold of these in non-damaged condition is really, really hard. My copies of both of these products have dented corners, some pages marked in sharp pencil, and some progress stickers used.

DK also published Third Grade and Fifth Grade "Math Made Easy" workbooks, with DC-themed motivational character appearances. I believe the only two Marvel ones are the 2nd and 4th Grade books listed here, but please feel free to Mail Me and prove me wrong.