Robert hates maths; his teacher does nothing for him. Then one night, a fierce and inspiring imp appears to him in a dream, and for the next eleven nights takes him on a wonderful journey through the strange world of numbers.
This is an educational book, in the best sense of the word: extremely well-written, clear, enjoyable and informative, it creates for the reader some of the excitement that real mathematicians must feel when they are at work. What the author does is to make us understand the sheer power and swiftness of mathematics, the way in which it allows us to make sense of the complexity of the world. It has no exercises, no boring stretches. Everything is explained wittily and in ordinary language.
Accessible to older children, and just as importantly to adults scared of maths, this is a stylish and imaginative godsend for families and individuals looking for a way into the modern world's most important way of thinking.
First published 1997; this translation 1998.