Of all the challenges lined up around the math skills track, fractions can be one of the more difficult hurdles to clear. You’ll need help. Fortunately, Dan Greenberg’s cadre of fraction heroes are on hand. If Martha Crunch, Enid the Magnificant and Joe Trella, Fraction Fella, can’t clear the fog of fuzzy fifths and quirky quarters, you’ll have to call in the big guns. Of course, I mean Texarkana Bernstein, the world’s greatest adventurer, and her trusty dog, Woovis.
Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories succeeds in presenting fraction concepts in a light hearted, entertaining format. Many of the exercises are similar to those found in other workbooks, but the short stories in each section serve to introduce new skills in an accessible way. You’re still going to work hard closing the gaps in some areas, but many of the characters from these stories will serve as another voice beside yours.
The book includes 30 stories, each with a set of 20 or so problems. The stories start out with basic fraction concepts, progress through operations and end with applications such as probability and ratios. Many of the stories are presented in script-style dialog format, which was unfamiliar to young readers here but we caught on quickly. Most stories are a page or two in length and serve as a nice break between problem solving. Because the stories are deep into explaining the fraction concept at hand, it doesn’t interrupt the math learning process like many of the “coloring break” type activities that other work books often use to hold interest. An answer key for all problems is included in the back of the book.
The book itself is 88 pages and printed in black and white on the newsprint type paper many workbooks use. Make copies of the pages at least for the first use as you’ll probably want to revisit some of the exercises and they won’t hold up under the eraser well. The graphic design is sensible. There are side bars and end caps with either more explanation or jokes that break up the problem sections in a non-distracting way. While the book is a bit on the slender side, it’s a great value for the quality of its content.
The bottom line is you can’t get enough help with fraction concepts, and Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories provides a group of clever characters to lend a hand. Strongly recommended, by both Dad and Woovis.