Fun with Figures — cool geometry book for kids from 1947
If you have kids (or even if you don’t) I recommend that you add the Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves blog to your RSS feed. I don’t collect many things, but I have acquired a small collection of vintage kids’ math and science books*, and my 7-year-old daughter and I love going through them.
Why do I like them so much? Here’s what I wrote in 2006 (about The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments): The book is an example of everything great about vintage children’s science books. Once you lay your eyes on it, you will come to the sad realization that our society has slipped backwards in at least three important ways: 1. The writing quality in old kids’ science books was better; 2. The design and illustration was more thoughtful and skillful; 3. Children in the old days were allowed and encouraged to experiment with mildly risky but extremely rewarding activities. Today’s children, on the other hand, are mollycoddled to the point of turning them into unhappy ignoramuses.
I haven’t seen a copy of Fun with Figures (1946) yet (I ordered it on Amazon, where used copies of this out-of-print title can be purchased for $2.85 and up), but from the examples posted to Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves, it looks like an excellent book to teach kids about geometry in the real world.
Chapters include: Straight Lines, Lines That Never Meet, Angles, Reflection Angles, Lines That Cross Squarely, Triangles, Equal-sided Triangles, Shadows Measure Height, Measuring Distances, Circles, More About Circles, Round Figures, Ovals, How to Draw an Ellipse, The Parabola, Spirals, The Helix, The Thread of a Screw, Quiver Pictures, One-Sided Piece of Paper, Knots, The Three Tags, Cutting and Fitting, Tangram, Nature’s Geometry, Star Cut-out, and Objects With Many Faces.
Note: the cover of the book shows the boy playing with a set of Platonic solids. In MAKE Vol. 11, Charles Platt wrote a good article about how to make Platonic solids.
*I’m preparing a post about my favorite old kids’ science books.