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My mother-in-law is a retired middle school math teacher. During a recent visit I found several math picture books at her house. She told me she used to read these books to her students at school. We initially thought they might be too advanced for my kids (because she taught grades 6-8), but I took them anyway.

My kids ended up really enjoying all of her books. I’m going to share her fun math books with you over the next few weeks. Today I’m sharing my mother-in-law’s favorite math book, Math Curse written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith.


Math Curse starts with a student’s math teacher telling her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem. Suddenly her whole world seems like one big math problem after another. She starts to think her teacher put a math curse on her because everything she looks at and thinks about is a math problem. 

From calculating how much time she has to get ready for school in the morning, to how many kids are on her bus, to how many rows of seats are in her classroom, her day is one complicated (and hilarious) math problem after another. Many of her math problems involve fractions, but she avoids solving them at all costs. 

A student brings in 24 cupcakes, but there are 25 people including the teacher in the class. The whole class starts trying to calculate the fraction of cupcake everyone gets so they can all have one. She has enough and says she’s allergic to cupcakes, just so no one has calculate the fractions. 

She is exhausted and overwhelmed by all the math by the end of the day. Then she dreams about math, in her dream she learns she has to do fractions to get out of the math room. She bravely calculates fractions, and in the morning she has broken free of the math curse.


A lot of the references to fractions in the book went above my young kids’ heads, because they are still at the basic addition and subtraction level. But overall they both enjoyed reading this book with me. We enjoyed the abstract looking math-themed illustrations that made the math problems come to life. 

We’re counting on our fingers following instructions in the book

I love how they turned every part of the girl’s day into a math problems. I found some of the math problems she thought of difficult to solve. I enjoyed how this book made me think, and made me laugh, and showed us how math is important part of our lives.

This is my mother-in-laws favorite book from her math classroom and it’s easy to see why she and her students loved this book so much.


  • Math: If you have a kid who loves math then this book is for them. Every single page is full of fun and interesting math problems about a regular school day. Kids will be challenged and have fun while solving the math problems throughout the book.
This page made me laugh out loud! “Does lipstick – stick = lip?” “Does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish?”

If you’re interested in getting Math Curse for your kids, you can find it on Amazon using my link


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