Danny Schnitzlein’s new picture book, The Monster Who Did My Math, is a modernized version of the traditional tale Rumpelstiltskin.

Certain that he can’t master his math homework, a young boy frets about it all weekend. When he finally tackles it late Sunday evening, he feels overwhelmed. Suddenly a math monster appears and offers to do the homework. The boy is only too happy to accept and he signs the contract presented to him.

The next morning, and the morning after that, he astounds his teacher (and himself) with perfect homework.

However when the student is asked to work out some math equations at the blackboard for the class, he can’t solve them, having learned nothing from the homework that he didn’t do. He “fires” the monster that evening and is immediately presented with a large bill. The boy raids his piggy-bank, totals up his coins and finds that it isn’t enough. He looks in his sweater drawer, finds more coins, adds them up and realizes that he needs still more. Pockets, a shoebox, his sock drawer and the clothes hamper yield more money and after adding it in, the boy is finally able to pay his bill. The monster leaves, angrily insisting that the boy will need his help again.

After all his calculations to pay the bill, however, the boy realizes that he is now capable of doing his own math homework, and the next evening, he confidently finishes it on his own.

This clever, upbeat tale, told in rhyme, will resonate especially with children who lack confidence in their own math abilities.

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