Click the cover to order your copy!
Illustrated by Philip Reeve
This book was
in the UK as
Vicious Circles and Other Savage Shapes
by Scholastic Ltd 2002

Savage Shapes

Suitable for ages 10 upwards

This is probably the only maths book you'll ever read that has ABSOLUTELY NO SUMS!

But there's plenty of other stuff to keep maths fans happy...

All the answers are here, as well as a duel between Urgum and Grizelda, diabolical challenges from Professor Fiendish, academic punch ups between the Pure Mathematicians and a panic when Dolly Snowlips "cooks" Porky Boccelli a birthday treat.

Don't forget to click the EXTRA links for more details that we didn't have room for in the book!


The Secret Vault

An invitation to see our treasured ancient Greek sand doodles which demonstrate the basics of shape or "geometry" as it used to be called.

Locus, Focus and a bit of Hocus Pocus

After we've learnt how to confuse teachers with a bit of Latin, we pick up some skills with compasses and rulers - and then help Veronica avoid an unwanted snog and get a naked colonel safely from the sea into his beach hut.

EXTRA: How to turn a rectangle into a square of the same area.

Everything Worth Knowing About Triangles

A packed chapter showing how a triangle could help Pongo McWhiffy stop Veronica fall into a cowpat and why milking stools have three legs. A particularily smelly Professor Fiendish has a particularily diabolical challenge, the gangsters find out how to divide up all sorts of strange shaped cakes without fighting - but the punches fly anyway as the Pure Mathematicians discuss where the centre of a triangle really is.

EXTRA - The Bear Hunter Puzzle with more answers than you'll find in the book! There's also a small printing error - did you spot it?


Not only do we learn how to draw different polygons, we also learn how to fold them and then throw a party to celebrate! We discover why bees are better builders than us and how to impress an alien waitress, and we prove to a judge the rules about polygon angles. We also find out what makes a Gollark laugh and see how to make the two "Penrose Tiles" which produce patterns that evolve into infinity!

EXTRA - The Amazing Penrose Chickens

EXTRA - How to calculate the formula for any regular polygon

Vicious Circles

It's amazing what you find when you play around with a couple of circles and a few straight lines! A visit to the Foul City of Fastbuck ends in crawling over a tank of twitching tongues and once again we dazzle the judge with some nifty proofs. Finally we go right back in time to see why Udd the caveman's super turbo charged six geared car doesn't impress the ladies!

EXTRA - The Names of Bits of a Circle

EXTRA - The Alternate Segment Theorem

EXTRA - How to find the Centre of a Circle using this book

Lumps and Bumps

Meet the five regular solids - and find out how the ancient Greek Plato tried to explain how the world was made out of them. See how Riverboat Lil manages to beat Brett Shuffler at snakes and ladders with a very sneaky die and find your way around the octahedral planet Ptuon.
There's also instructions for building a "superstar" - but since the book came out, an MM reader called STEVEN CHARLTON told us its proper name is a "small stellated dodecahedron". Thanks Steven!

EXTRA - The Regular Solids - and how to work out their volumes!

EXTRA - How to make The Magical Self-Assembling Cube!

EXTRA - The 11 different cube nets.

Ellipses, Whispers and Wandering Stars

A Pure Mathematician gets rather squashed as he asks "is an ellipse just a squashed circle?" We meet ellipses of all sorts ranging from the all round sensible ones to the raving eccentric bing-bong-whoopee type. Whether it's in a cathedral dome, or a planetary orbit, we see why ellipses are not egg-shaped and how ellipses save the planet from yet another evil Gollark plan.
EXTRA - How to work out the Area of an Ellipse and the volumes of ELLIPSOIDS!

Prove it Pytho

He had it coming. 25 centuries ago Pythagoras lumbered us with his "theorem" about the square on the hypotenuse - so we bring him to life, shove him in front of the judge and make him explain himself. (This is all illustrated with about 6 pages of superb cartoon strips by Philip Reeve.) But then the big problem is that now he's alive, what do we do with him?

Many thanks to Rob Eastaway, Liz Meenan and David Mitchell
who supplied some ideas for this book.

By the way - Dan White from Leeds was the first person EVER to discover Professor Fiendish's first name by escaping from the Room of Doom. Dan's prize is that he appears somewhere in this book! Can you find him?

AND FINALLY: Here's something that was supposed to go in the book but we didn't have room for...

EXTRA - How to make a Hexaflexagon

Go THIS way Go THAT way


The Murderous Maths Bookshop

The Murderous Maths Books

Murderous Maths Main Index Page

This book is dedicated to Merlin