Cheetah Math

Learning about Division from Baby Cheetahs


Canopy Crossing book cover

by Ann Nagda in collaboration with the San Diego Zoo

Cheetahs are very fast--and very shy. When two young cheetah cubs come to the nursery at the San Diego Zoo, the staff hopes they will help Zoo visitors learn more about the plight of these big cats in the wild. Majani and Kubali are too nervous to meet strangers on their own, but with the help of dog buddies, the cheetahs become the perfect animal ambassadors.

From discovering how fast the cubs can run to figuring out how much they eat, you can learn all about division from these baby cheetahs and their canine friends.

Publisher:  Henry Holt & Co., Fall 2007



"Nagda once again illustrates the many uses of mathematics in the real world in her latest zoo title. This is the story of Majani and his sister, Kubali, cheetah cubs who were hand-raised after their mother's illness. Readers will be fascinated to learn about the cubs' training as animal ambassadors for the zoo. The tale largely follows the cheetahs and their growing friendships with their dog buddies, pairings meant to help the cheetahs stay calm around park visitors. Young children will easily be drawn to the two cubs, as Nagda brings their distinct personalities to life, both through the text and accompanying photographs. Following the same successful format as her four earlier titles in the series, the right-hand pages tell the story of the baby cheetahs, while the left-hand pages introduce readers to the vocabulary and concepts of division, using graphs and unit representations to illustrate math problems. Several methods are taught, and while the explanations are accurate, many will require an adult to walk the child through it. A great addition to both the math and wild-animal conservation bookshelves." 

                                                        --Kirkus Reviews

"Each spread includes division problems that revolve around the big cats on the left and facts about the birth and development of two baby cheetahs, Majani and Kubali, on the right. The color photography is outstanding. Division is defined along with the meaning of dividend, divisor, and quotient. The math problems are written in equation form and depicted pictorially by grouping with hundreds, tens, and ones, and through charts and graphs. The relationship between division and repeated subtraction is also explained. Topics covered about the cheetahs include food, physical growth, running speed, and possible extinction. This book can be used in conjunction with Panda Math (2005), Chimp Math (2002), Polar Bear Math (2004), and Tiger Math (2000, all Holt), which address subtraction, time, fractions, and graphs, respectively. This is a wonderful cross-curricular book and an appealing way to introduce math."

                                                        --School Library Journal


Awards and Honors

A Junior Library Guild Selection