Best maths story books for children

Child reading maths story book
Introduce ratio, pie charts, probability and even simplifying fractions to children with these brilliant maths story books, picture-book presentations of mathematical concepts that primary-school children will love.

Division with remainders explained through the rhyming tale of Joe and the bug army, told to march in even lines only. Will Joe manage not to be left out of the parade?

A remainder of one by Elinor J. Pinczes (£5.62, Houghton Mifflin)


Suitably gruesome illustrations (plenty of bats, vampires and pumpkins!) and spooky multiplication spells make 2 x 2 = Boo! a favourite with children (who don't seem to notice they're learning about arrays and times tables as they read).

2 x 2 = Boo! by Loreen Leedy (£5.34, Holiday House)


Explain probability clearly and wittily with the story of Odds the cat and his probability challenge (and a great historical anecdote about how Pascal and de Fermat developed the throry of mathematical probability in 1654).

A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn (£6.99, Charlesbridge Publishing)


By helping children to visualise time differently (hours are mountains that time must climb on its way around the clock; minutes are the steps that time uses to climb over the mountains), the Aramazu illustrated storybooks communicate a very tricky concept in a fun, effective way. Kids love to hate the evil Princess Tempura, too!

The Learn to Tell the TIme Stories three-book package with dramatised audio story CD and practice clock (£15.25, Aramazu)


Can a four-foot boy and a twenty-foot giant ever be friends? Find out how ratio, the relationship between the size of two things, helps them to play games and have a picnic together in a story of measurements and fairness.

Beanstalk: the measure of a giant by Ann McCallum (£5.26, Charlesbridge Publishing)


The brilliant Maths Quest books challenge you to make your way through an adventure, using your maths skills to complete your mission and decide how the plot unfolds. The Cavern of Clues is packed with calculation puzzles; the other three books in the series offer data handling, geometry and numbers problems to solve.

The Cavern of Clues by David Glover (£7.99, QED Publishing)


Most young children have very strong views about fairness; Equal Shmequal builds on that to explain what being equal means in maths in a story about a group of friends trying to balance a seesaw equally.

Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll (£5.26, Charlesbridge Publishing)


George Cornelius Factor is crazy about fractions and first in line in the auction of a brand-new 5/9. When it disappears he builds a Reducer (half ray gun, half calculator) and makes it his mission to track down his fraction by removing its disguise and reducing it to its lowest terms.

Fractions in disguise by Edward Einhorn (£5.99, William Morrow)


A little girl develops a maths curse and everything around her becomes a maths problem to solve – and everything in Math curse is about the maths we all encounter in everyday life. Funny and very clever, with plenty of maths in-jokes for grown-ups.

Math curse by Jon Scieszka (£5.49, Viking Children's Books)

Rumpelstiltskin brings mayhem to Peter's kingdom by multiplying noses, mice and insects, but Peter discovers the secret of the multiplying menace and restores order by multiplying by whole numbers, fractions and zero. 

Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin by Pam Calvert (£5.25, Charlesbridge Publishing)

Tally charts, block graphs, pie charts and line graphs – bakers try every method they know to try to track who is winning in their sweet-treats baking competition. A funny, beautifully illustrated introduction to charts and graphs.

Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert by Cindy Neuschwander (£5.99, Charlesbridge Publishing)

Perimeter and area come to life in a story about a family meal and the complicated seating arrangements. Will everyone partake of spaghetti and meatballs together?

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! by Marilyn Burns (£4.61, Scholastic)

Robert visits a bizarre magical land in his dreams, and the Number Devil is his host. From interesting number patterns and sequences to exponents and matrices, the quirky Number Devil makes numbers fascinating. One to read out loud with your child to add to your own mathematical knowledge!

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger (£9.99, Granta Books)

Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter and Radius are on a quest to solve a riddle and discover a magic number that is the same for all circles, π. The colourful, detailed illustrations make the geometrical concepts of circumference and diameter accessible to children as young as 6.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander (£5.99, Charlesbridge Publishing)


If you're looking for a more traditional (but equally fun) approach to maths, we've picked the best maths books for kids and the best counting books for children.