I have put off this review as long as possible. When I review a product, I anticipate that it will be something useful for our family and/or our homeschool. I want more than anything to be as fair as possible and present positive reviews. However, after weeks of studying this short text, I am still unable to recommend it.
Zenny Riel: An Arithmetic Notebook is described by the author as the software for a game and the hardware is a red, white and green plastic “toy” (which is not included with the book). Nowhere in the text are instructions for ordering or obtaining one given. From the black and white diagrams in the manual, I can discern that the “toy” is an abacus or counting toy of sorts, with red and green apples on it. Some apples have a value of 5, others of one. Some of the apples represent fingers, some hands and some toes. This “toy” in conjunction with the book is intended to teach tricks and help with memorization of math facts, through a series of examples and problems.
To be fair, I did not sit down and try to draw out a color diagram of the “toy” so often referred to and described in the book. I have gone over the included black and white diagrams that are included, however, with very little success. No matter how many of even the most basic problems I tried to work with the pictures provided of the “toy”, I could not make heads or tales out of what was being taught. I am far from a math prodigy, but I am fairly good with the basics and above average when it comes to mental math. I have never come across a more confusing approach to God’s system of mathematical order. While I cannot recommend the text as I had hoped, I would think that having the apparatus described, in hand, as I went through the book, might possibly have helped to create a more favorable impression.
I received a complimentary copy of Zenny Riel: An Arithmetic Notebook as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.