A story book for all ages to experience mathematics, problems solving, and the rewards that come with perseverance.
“Long ago in the land of China, there were many rain storms … and the land of China was slowly sinking into the sea. This is the story of how a wise emperor, an observant girl, and a magic turtle saved the villages of China from the great flood.” So begins the story of Ying and the Magic Turtle. Children ages 5 and up, parents, and teachers can enjoy the book for its rich beauty in mathematics and as an ancient legend. It is the kind of story to revisit over and over again.
This book is perhaps best experienced with someone, as a read-aloud or read-together. When reading, we learn of Ying’s trouble, and we root for her to find her solution. We find ourselves drawn into the life problems that Ying is facing, but also drawn into the inherent mathematics of the story. It is through the beauty of the pattern of the dots on the turtle’s shell that the solution is finally found and the land is saved.
We can appreciate each scene as we read, and then pause and predict what might come next. We can play with the mathematics, solving right alongside Ying. We can delve deeper into the power of magic squares by working with puzzles presented at the end of the story. There are unsolved problems in number theory even a young child can try, such as finding all the possible magic squares of a given size.