**New book: You Can Count on Monsters, by Richard Evan Schwartz *91 **(A K Peters)

**The author:** About seven years ago, Schwartz made a simple book of black-and-white drawings of monsters — each one associated with a number — for his precocious daughter, then five, to help her learn about prime and composite numbers and factoring. A couple years later, he expanded the concept, eventually covering numbers 1 to 100 and making a poster of the fun monsters. “The National Science Foundation (main division) liked it so much that they have a giant one hanging in their office,” he said. Last year, he turned the poster into a colorful book.

Math has been like a “constant companion” to Schwartz, today a mathematics professor at Brown University and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2003. One reason he likes math, he said, is “the fact that there is (usually) a way to decide if a mathematical statement or argument is true. So talking about math is much more productive for me that talking about lots of other subjects, like politics.”

**The book:** Intended for elementary-age children, *You Can Count on Monsters* first explains the basic ideas of multiplication, prime and composite numbers, and factoring. Then for each number, from one through 100, the book’s left-hand pages depict the number broken down into its prime factors using dots and factor trees, and on the facing page, there is a playful monster that relates to the number.