Molly and the Mathematical Mystery

We review the fourth of this year’s nominees for the Book of the Year


Eugenia Cheng is a mathematician, author, baker, and concert pianist (you can find out more about her by reading our interview with her from issue 09). Aleksandra Artymowska is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Molly and the Mathematical Mystery (Amazon UK, Waterstones) is an interactive children’s book that encourages the reader to solve clues to follow the adventure.


Molly and the Mathematical Mystery is a beautiful book. Its pages are large, and full of wonderful illustrations. On each page, the reader is encouraged to help Molly continue on her adventure by finding information under flaps, opening flaps to change available routes, or even using the flaps to construct a path for Molly that takes her out of the page.


Molly’s adventure leads the reader through a range of mathematical ideas, including fractals, symmetry, and Latin squares. The reader is encouraged to interact with the book to experiment with these ideas, then more information about each one is given at the end of the book.


The use of flaps that can be lifted, moved, and rearranged really sets this apart from other children’s maths books. I was particularly impressed with the page on which I had to attached the flaps together to make cubes that Molly could walk around to find her path to the next page.


I’d recommend this book to anyone with a child or young relative. There’s lots to enjoy in this book for children of any age: younger children can interact with the book by lifting the flaps to look for clues, while older readers could engage with the mathematical ideas and puzzles spread throughout the book.

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