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for the Murderous Maths set.
here for the Murderous Maths Puzzle books.
Sure, you say, anyone can make history hysterical, or
spelling silly. It doesn't take much effort to make chemistry comical or
Latin laughable. It's nothing to make grammar goofy, astronomy amusing, or
reading ridiculous. Even on a bad day, you can make physics pleasant, but
make math fun? "No way" you say! There just isn't anything merry about math,
frivolous about fractions, delightful about division, or absurd about
algebra. It would be easier to make scrubbing the toilet the social
highlight of the week!
Well, guess what - you're wrong and we have the books to
prove it! If you're the kind of person who likes awful puns, sneaky tricks,
outlandish names, fascinating facts, amusing illustrations and lots of
games, puzzles and silly jokes, then the Murderous Maths series is
for you. Every book has the author's personal promise that it is "Guaranteed
to contain no nasty exercises and no boring sums!" These may just be
the only math books you'll ever find that if you leave a few laying around
the house, the kids will pick them up to read for fun! As the Brits would
say, these books are simply "brilliant." They are published in the UK, so
you will read lots of things that the British might say - starting with "maths"
instead of "math." But don't worry, the language differences are minor
and only add to the charm of the series.
Even though these books are a lot of fun, they actually do
cover a lot of math (but in such an enjoyable way your kids will hardly
notice). If you simply must know what concepts and topics are covered, go
We thank the author, Kjartan Poskitt, for giving us
permission to use some of his descriptions of the books.
See our special set of Murderous Maths books at the
bottom of this page.
Maths: Guaranteed to Bend Your Brain by Kjartan Poskitt is the original book that started it all.
It deals with a mixture of quirky items ranging from magic squares to card
tricks, and it also has a section of some of the bizarre (and often quite
nasty) maths geniuses of the world. It also covers time, short cuts, massive
numbers, symmetry and how the invention of nothing made our number system
Here is Max's review:
I thought that Murderous Maths was a great book. It is short, but
packed with information. The book starts out by talking about the basics of
math (+, -, =, x, -:-). Then, Murderous Maths moves on to discuss
things like time, short cuts for problems, Roman numerals, calculators,
time, clocks, right angles, the invention of nothing, mathematicians, and
the magic square. Eventually the author talks a little bit about algebra and
why it is useful. What I think I liked the best was the way the author put
in little humorous anecdotes so as to keep your interest.
Here are 2 examples of problems from the book:
(1) If you have 1 bacteria particle, and if it multiplies 2 times every
ten minutes, how many will you have in 24 hours? Answer:
22,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (a lot).
(2) You are locked in a bathroom with a fungus crawling toward you shooting
deadly spores at you!!! You have a set quantity of different shaped sets of
tiles in the room with you, but which set can cover the whole fungus without
any spores left uncovered to fire at you?
As you can see, the problems in this book are strange and unusual, but
the author uses common everyday mathematics to solve them. I think that this
was a very enjoyable math book and recommend it to anyone who wants a fun
Max, age 12, reviewed 5/18/04.
Murderous Maths: Guaranteed to Mash Your Mind by Kjartan Poskitt will explain things like "How to
be famous for ever," "One sided paper" and "Who can see you STARK NAKED as
you read this book?" You also learn how mirror numbers can make a teacher's
head explode, about dimensions, dominoes, speed and why Pythagoras had
Here is Troy's review:
More Murderous Maths is more of the above, it differs only in that
the art gets a little less sketchy, and the writer realizes that he's going
to be doing an entire series and, therefore, brings up many topics that will
be in later books in detail.
The front cover cartoon shows three men in prison, and one of them says,
"So, if it takes 10 men 6 years to dig a tunnel using spades, how long will
it take us 3 using this plastic spoon?" The entire book is packed with that
kind of thing. The only way for this math to become murderous is for you to
die laughing. It goes through geometry, critical thinking, volume,
dimensions, measurements, impossible shapes, percentages and interest,
speeds, etc, etc, etc. Compared to the first book, this book is a 10. I rate
the first book a 7 out of 10 because the cartoons aren't as funny and the
math is more boring (plus the evil Gollark aliens don't make their
appearance until the 2nd book).
This book gives more insight as to what you already know if you have
about 4th grade math. I recommend this book for 3rd grade and up to about
Maths - Awesome Arithmetricks by Kjartan Poskitt is the book
that explains how maths all starts. You begin with counting, and by the end
you'll be doing massive calculations in your head. The main thing is that it
shows you how to tackle the toughest sums WITHOUT A CALCULATOR. As well as
being funny, this book will show younger kids exactly how numbers work, and
it will remind helpless adults who have forgotten!
Description below taken
from the author's site at:
For people who aren't sure how sums work, this book explains the very
basics. It starts with counting and then takes a hilarious tour through
adding, subtracting, multiplying and even long division!
It's all made clear thanks to Pongo McWhiffy, the Gangsters, the utterly
barmy pure mathematicians and there's a special guest appearance by Titus
O'Skinty and his lovely assistant Gladys.
Note: This is the same book as The Essential Arithmetricks. The title is
slightly different, and the cover has been changed, but the book content is
the same. The Murderous Maths series is being redesigned cosmetically over
the course of the next year, with cover artwork and some title changes, but
the book content is staying the same.
For ages 7 and up. Paper.
Maths - Desperate
Measures: Length, Area and Volume, by Kjartan Postkitt, is one of
the less entertaining books in my opinion, but it is definitely worth
reading because of the 2-part Archimedes comics. These tell the classic
story of when the king gets a new crown, but the goldsmith cheats him, and
gives him 1/3 silver which is much less valuable. Archimedes figures out in
the bath ("Eureka!" "Well, you don't smell so nice yourself!") that by
adding himself to a full bathtub, the water that spills over is equal to his
volume. So he runs to the king, takes a bowl of water, marks where the water
line is, dunks the crown in the water, marks that, then puts a lump of gold
in weighing the exact same as the crown in, marks that, and it turns out
that the crown used up more space, or volume, than the lump of gold.
Therefore it was proven that the goldsmith cheated him, and he was sentenced
The second part is when the cheating goldsmith calls his lawyer,
and his lawyer claims that the first proof was insufficient. Archimedes then
proves his buoyancy laws by weighing the gold and the crown under water. All
in all it is a worthwhile read, even though I rate it an 8 out of 10. For
4th grade and up to about 8th grade. (Description by Troy)
Maths - Do You Feel Lucky? by Kjartan Postkitt, reviewed by Troy. If
you were a pigeon flying over a railway station that could hold 200 people,
but was only half full, and suddenly you had to go, what is the probability
of you hitting a person down there? Work it out. Let's say, half of the
people down there were men. What is the probability of you hitting a woman?
Work it out. This book is about probability. Probability is saying, "There
is a 50% chance of rain today with scattered hail to boot" (actually the
weatherman's name is likely not Probability, but still . . .)
the coin toss with Professor Fiendish, your arch-nemesis. He offers you the
chance to win a coin toss, toss 6 coins, win 60 pence (this is a British
book remember). Using Pascal's triangle, you figure out that the probability
of you getting all heads is more than one in 60. The Professor's electric
meter runs on coins. How do you run him out of coins for his electric meter
so that you can escape from his electrified titanium tent? The answer is,
look at Pascal's triangle! By losing one coin at a time, you raise your
chances of winning. Eventually you run the Professor out of coins, and
you're able to walk outside, your pockets full of pence (money).
Then there's the probability of winning a million British pounds by
tossing 3 coins in the air, waking somebody up and saying "I will bet you
that if I toss these three coins in the air, at least 2 of them will land
the same way!" If they take your bet, it's a sure thing you're going to win.
This books also goes through interesting numbers, such as the probability
of winning the national lottery jackpot is one in 13,983,816. So winning the
jackpot is actually easier than throwing 24 straight heads on 24 coins.
It goes through factorials, and there's combinations, permutations,
"dice, dates and devious decks" - gambling. I rate this book an 8 out of 10.
This book is for 5th and up to say 8th grade.
Murderous Maths - Savage Shapes, by Kjartan Postkitt, reviewed by Troy. Vicious Circles
and Other Savage Shapes starts off with a chapter called "The Secret Vault"
where you get to go and see the most famous sand drawings ever. This zone
doesn't use ANY numbers, unless you want to. All you need are one or two
decent pencils, a ruler, scissors, a geometrical compass, clean paper, and a
protractor. This book is obviously about geometry and throughout the book
you see a furious judge yelling, "PROVE IT!" It talks about Pythagoras,
Thales, and other fathers of geometry. It talks about angles, shapes, radii,
perpendicular bisectors, and angle bisectors (how not to get splattered
against the wall of a magnetically charged cave on your cosmic phazmacycle,
watch spellcheck hiccup), impossible shapes, why triangles don't collapse,
and then it talks about dimensions.
From the book: "Suppose there's 2
flies that are absolutely bugging you. You could borrow a laser beam that
fires a very thin beam of light in a straight line. Using the laser beam,
you could bore a hole in both flies at the same time, provided you pointed
it in exactly the right direction." That is the first dimension.
"You don't have any choice, there is only one direction you can fire the
beam in, and that depends on the position of the 2 flies. To put all this in
mathspeak, 2 points define a line . . . The 2 flies call up reinforcements
and to your horror a third tiny fly appears. If you're really lucky you
might find all three flies in a straight line, but it's not very likely." Or
probable. "However, our weapons depot can issue you a very long, very wide
and very, VERY thin sheet of glass. Ha! Now you've got 'em." Complete with
appropriate illustrations, (Chung! Eeeeek! from the flies . . .) And of
course he shows you how to deal with 4 flies . . . I rate this book a 9 out
of 10, for 4th grade and up to say 8th grade.
Maths - Numbers, the Key to the Universe, by Kjartan Postkitt,
reviewed by Troy.If you thought that any of the other books were good, you
obviously haven't read this one. This book is my favorite because this goes
into almost all of the other number subjects (minus geometry), and it's the
thickest book yet, so there's more of the good stuff. It goes over such
stuff as useless numbers, Fibonacci numbers, superstitious and lucky
numbers, prime numbers, irrational numbers, triangular and square numbers,
and my personal favorite, binary numbers and number bases. Amicable numbers
whose factors add up to each other are in there.
It also goes over
Fermat's Last Theorem, Euler, and other historical figures, and of course,
the gangsters are in this book. Part of this book which is the funniest part
in my opinion, is the classic riddle of the missing cent. Get the book to
find out what that is.
The book has lots of number tricks for just about everything. I like it
because it goes over so many subjects. I rate it a 10 out of 10, for 3rd
grade and up.
Maths - The Phantom X by Kjartan Postkitt, (reviewed by Troy) This
is the newest book in the series and it is about Algebra. You may be asking
"Who is she?" if you are in 3rd grade. But the rest of us kinda know what
algebra is. It scares a lot of people, but there's really nothing to fear.
The idea about algebra is, if you encounter a problem that is too hard, back
out and tackle an easier problem.
It talks about the importance of
positives and negatives, and the Phantom X (who looks almost exactly like
Zorro) teaches you the five rules for adjusting equations. Interesting
though is that the only thing it goes over is algebra (all the other books
cover more than one subject), it's just different from the other books.
Here is the famous Diophantus riddle (Diophantus is considered the father
of algebra): "Diophantus' youth lasted one-sixth of his life. He grew a
beard after one-twelfth of his life, then after one-seventh more Diophantus
married. Five years later he had a son who lived exactly half as long as his
father. Diophantus died 4 years after his son." You may be able to do this,
but I suggest you get the book to help you solve it!
It talks about how many numbers will fit into brackets, and how many
brackets are allowed. And then it talks about your "algebra panic button" -
"If you get stuck on an algebra problem, you reach under the desk and push
the secret panic button! The curtains around your room will automatically
close, an electronic sweeper will check for bugging devices, and the door
will lock itself. When the system has verified that everything is secure,
the picture of your great, great aunt Marina on the wall will slide open
revealing a panel with a formula on it." I can't put the formula in because
. . . I can't, it looks pretty hairy, but it has the power to solve almost
This is definitely for at least 5th grade and up, it has a lot of stuff
in it I haven't learned yet totally (I'm 12). I just got the book and I
usually read these four or five times before I get it all, so I'll wait
until then to rate it.
Maths - The Perfect Sausage by Kjartan Postkitt,
This book surprised me. I was not expecting all the formulas in here to turn
up. Like the formula for why the Gollarks will be able to interpret with the
Ploogs because the Ploogs can't understand them, so they need an interpreter who
can speak both of their languages, and it goes on . . . They finally decide that
they ended up needing over 1,000 interpreters just to get everybody to
understand each other. The comics are hillarious. They end up all getting blown
up and finally talking the same language as they scream "ARGHHH!"
Then we have formulas for pizzas, how to divide a crescent into three pieces
with only one cut, how to divide a crescent into 6 pieces with only 2 cuts
(hint, they are not all the same size) and why the pure mathematicians are
probably on the wanted list forever.
Then we get into formulas for gravitational attraction of Pongo and Veronica
(don't worry, it's G-rated). These include Einstein and Newton's famous
formulas. Then there is money - formulas to figure out percentage markups to
make 50% profit on resale. Then it goes backwards - they paid me this, how much
did it cost me? It's all in English currency but who cares, the math is the same
whatever currency you use as long as it's decimal based!
There are formulas for calendar algorithms, like what day your birthday fell
upon. There are geometric formulas, like how to figure out the longest diagonal
in irregular and regular figures. Hint: Once you get to a certain number of
sides, use your ruler!
It covers sines, cosines and tangents, but not with the trig superheros this
time. MM decided it was impossible to figure the area of a trapezoid without
knowing the height. It IS possible, but there's only 3 known formulas for it -
one includes 8 different variables, and another includes SEVEN LAYERS of
imbedded brackets. Very scary - if you don't know what that is, this is an
example of just three imbeddings:
See? Spookyyyy . . .
And there's still more. The phases of the moon (and its affect on a
were-sausage, whoo-ooooh!) are demonstrated in a formula, Archimedes makes
another appearance in this book with his discovery of the formula for the volume
of a sphere in a cylinder, and pure mathematicians LOVE pi squared :o)
Near the end, we have - At Last! The Tragic Tale of The Perfect Sausage. No
spoilers posted here, but it truly is tragic! The final comic I won't spoil
either, but it's VERY funny.
I rate this book, easily, a 9 out of 10. A little of it was over my head, but
I liked it anyway. I recommend this book again for middle school on up. Because
it goes through a lot of formulas, it takes a while to figure out. There's a lot
of vocabulary you probably never saw, but he does explain it.
Reviewed by Troy, age 13, 6/23/05
Paper, 207 pages, 5"x7.75".
Maths of Everything by Kjartan Poskitt - Now, in brilliantly bold
colour for the first time, The Murderous Maths of Everything shines a
light on even the murkiest corners of the maths world. From awesome arithmetics
to fundamental formulas, and all the brain-boggling bits in between, this book
has ALL the answers to EVERYTHING in maths. Well, nearly everything....
Explore the fourth dimension! Step inside the inside-out room! Make your
birthday last twice as long! Cure the plague! It's not called The Murderous
Maths of Everything for nothing, you know!
Paper, 96 pages. 11.5"x9"x.6". This Murderous Maths book has glossy, full-color
illustrations and a larger format than the other books in the series.
Maths: Easy Questions Evil Answers by Kjartan Poskitt - Why do
people think Friday 13th is unlucky? How can you make a liar tell the truth?
How many people in the world share your birthday? Can on egiant sneeze blast
the Earth out of orbit? When does 9 - 11 = 10? How often is once in a blue
Easy Questions, Evil Answers provides the answers to
all these questions and more. It's the perfect laugh-out-loud, boredom
busting read for everyone who's ever wondered just how many footballs you
can fit in a swimming pool and how long it takes to count to a million.
Paper, 160 pages. 5"x7.75".
Buy All 11 Murderous Math Books together and save!
Do you have an insatiable math fiend at home? Do you prefer funny math to
fuzzy math? Do you especially like math when it adds up to savings for you?
Then have we got a deal for you! By this set of 13 Murderous Math
books for only $111.99!
Includes the following books: Murderous Maths: Guaranteed to Bend Your
Brain, Murderous Maths: Guaranteed to Mash Your Mind,
Awesome Arithmetricks, Desperate Measures, Do
You Feel Lucky?, Savage Shapes, Numbers, The Phantom X, The Perfect Sausage, The Murderous Maths of Everything and
Easy Questions: Evil Answers. The puzzle books are sold separately.
Spanish version of Murderous Maths!
Esas Mortiferas Mates by Kjartan Poskitt - Primero aprendiste a contar.
No fue emocionante?Luego descubriste cmo se suma. Cielos!Ahora ests preparado
para Esas Mortferas Mates!!En sta gua tan peligrosamente distinta encontrars a
Jimmy el Pulgar, Charly el Serrucho, el Comadreja y sus gngsters, que dan fe de
que las matemticas pueden ser mortferas. Descubre cmo las mates pueden ayudarte
a rescatar a alguien que se encuentra en peligro de muerte, a no disparar contra
ti mismo con un caon...No hay que hacer ejercicios ni operaciones aburridas!!
Paper, 144 pages. 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.4. Copyright 1998. The pages are
yellowing around the edges and there is a mild crease on one corner.
Out of print, one copy available.
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