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19 December 2012 @ 10:05 pm
Recently read: Introductory Calculus For Infants  
Introductory Calculus For Infants, by Omi M. Inouye

I'm not really sure how to describe this book: If you expect a calculus book, it has less calculus than you might expect. If you're expecting a kid's book, it has more calculus than you'd expect.

It follows the letter x (which the other letters didn't like) after f (who is fabulous and fun) explains how as a team they can do lots of fun things: one for each letter of the alphabet, all at least plausibly calculus-related. There's a happy ending: The other letters see how x can be a good friend.

I look forward to reading it to Peter and Amber, though I expect that I will have a lot of explaining to do. (Despite the title, I don't think I would try reading this book to a very young child; an appreciation for the alphabet is necessary.)

Conditionally recommended: It's cute and funny, but would presumably not shine as well if you're not in the mood for a kid's book, or don't have fond memories of calculus class.
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Steuard: lakesteuard on December 20th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
We've been reading it to Phoebe for ages (since she was very much an infant), but in much the same spirit that we've read her a lot of things: less out of the expectation that she'll really understand it, and more just for the shared reading experience.

There's really not a lot of actual calculus, as you say: probably not much more than the page about derivatives and the one about global extrema. But there's obviously a lot of more generic math (everything from absolute value to zero crossings), all presented just as a gallery of examples rather than with any attempt to explain it. It's definitely cute and funny, and maybe a nice way of getting some math culture into a kid's environment.