By: Lydia Barriman
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
Amy Tsang asked her friends Sam, Michelle, and Adam to meet her in the backyard of her house because she had a surprise to show them. When they opened the gate, a rambunctious puppy with a red collar came running at them. Amy told them that she had named the puppy Brada after Bradamante, one of Charlemagne’s knights. Charlegmane was a “legendary king like King Arthur,” who had brother and sister knights, Rinaldo and Brandamante. Bradamante had long golden hair. Amy told her friends that “Brada has gold hair and nothing scares her. She’d explore the whole neighborhood if we didn’t make sure the gate was latched.” When everyone was in the house Michelle and Brada were playing and scattered all the leaves Amy had raked up.
Later they all left for the gym to meet Sifu, but they didn’t notice they had left the gate unlatched. They met up with Tom and Stacy when they arrived and Joy opened the door for them. Sifu quickly presented them with a probability problem the gang would have to work out. She said to them “We want to know the probability that we’ll use each type of gear.” The kids quickly gathered together to do some brainstorming. They checked out September’s calendar that showed pictures of four types of gear that had been used. They figured out when each of the pieces of equipment had been used and how often so they could find a solution.
Sifu told them that “Probabilities can only tell us what’s likely to happen in the future.” The kids decided to use their newly found skill to figure out how long it would take to rake up the leaves, but they quickly discovered they had another problem. Brada was on the loose because of the unlatched gate. It was going to be a real task to find out where she went because when they stopped to think about it, they discovered she had been to several different places. Would they be able to use probability to find out where she went? If they made a bar chart as Sam suggested, would their task be any easier?
This is a very intriguing manga mystery that incorporates the mathematical concept of probability. I enjoyed the entire layout of this mystery and the way it was presented made the concept of probability easy to grasp. When the young crowd was working through their problem of which type of gear was most likely to be used, statements such as “We only used striking pads twice. So we’re least likely to use striking pads,” makes the concept much clearer to the reader. Visuals such as information written on a note pad and a bar graph drawn out (this included fractions) were very helpful. This type of presentation using a graphic novel is not only helpful to the reluctant reader, but also to the young person who has trouble understanding math concepts. If you want a recipe for mathematical success just mix a bit of manga with math and you just might find a solution!
Quill says: This manga math mystery will definitely help your child or student to readily grasp the mathematical concept of probability in an easy, enjoyable manner!