This is a creative picture biography of noted mathematician Paul Erdos, focusing on the world as Erdos saw it, a world of numbers, filled with numbers, defined by numbers and completely mathematical in every sense. Hei- ligman uses numbers to delineate Paul’s life, giving the reader a fine sense of this unusual man who marched to his own beat but made significant contributions to our understanding of mathematical concepts and methods. Along with a certain benign eccentricity and naiveté, caring and warmth shine through the author’s portrayal of Erdos. An extensive author’s note tells even more about him and discusses his Jewish background and the historical events that unfolded during his life and times. The illustrations are equally creative and slightly offbeat and are very much in keeping with the unusual personality of the subject. An extensive illustrator’s note explicates and expands upon many of the artistic choices the illustrator has employed. A lighthearted treatment of mathematics, a subject all too often regarded as heavy and off-putting by children, and a simple biography of a fascinating man, this book is a breath of fresh air and is recommended for ages 3 – 9.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.