Mathematical stories by Frédérique

about Papy's Minicomputer


  1. Summer School in the Old Days

It is a story written by Frédérique in 1975 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Papy’s Minicomputer.
Ed and Pam introduce the story:
“Did you know that the whole numbers go to school during the summer? It appears that an important part of their school day is spent presenting themselves to one another in a variety of ways. In great-grand-mother’s day, the numbers used bundles of sticks for their presentations. Many numbers found carrying sticks terribly inconvenient. For example, the number 24,367 had an enormous mountain of sticks to bring each day to school. How times change! With the arrival of a great modern convenience, Papy’s Minicomputer, numbers no longer needed to carry anything more than a small bag of checkers. 24,367 needs no more than nine checkers; and some say even fewer!
“Summer School in the Old Days” is a story warmly told and richly illustrated. A wealth of information is provided both in the detailed illustrations and in the words of the text. The careful observer, for example, will discover in which year the new school building was opened. The story offers its readers an opportunity to gain new insights into the whole numbers and to extend their perspective to include a first idea of negative numbers. A glimpse of this wider range of numbers is given when the number 0 finds new ways to present himself.”


  1. The Weird Story of 24

Let's Ed Martin introduce the story: “The Weird Story of 24" is enough to give a cat heart failure! From the moment that 24 nonchalantly shows up in the mailbox to the time of his enigmatic disappearance, life is just one strange happening after another. Minicomputer boards appear on the ceiling, pictures vanish into thin air, checkers take a life of their own - all guaranteed to disturb a cat's morning snooze. It's hard to fathom how the boy can take it all with such equanimity.

But behind all the supernatural occurrences, readers have a chance to learn more about the number 24. In particular, by anticipating how the boy is going to get 24 out of the various predicaments he falls into, the readers may strengthen their knowledge of and confidence with the Minicomputer. Indeed, such involvements can only increase the enjoyment provided by this delightfully illustrated little tale.



All stories by Frédérique are available in pdf format here (external link)

CSMP project



Last updated: January 22, 2006