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This eleven book series jumbles birthdays, jungle animals, and incredible illustrations with tons of fun lessons in rhyme with reason!!
55 backers pledged $5,123 to help bring this project to life.

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Mathematics can be NOT scary! Mathamanimals can help! project video thumbnail
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I can't think of a better way to introduce you to this project than by whetting your appetite with an entree of Eric's incredible imagination. Click the image below to preview the first book - Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle. Enjoy!

After 17 years of patience, my passion to help kiddos NOT fear math is on the cusp of reality. My eleven book series of ten Mathamanimals celebrating their birthdays in the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle has reached its final edits. Here are a few paragraphs as to what drove me and the many roads and detours taken along the way.

Did mathematics ever scare you?...or your kiddo? Well, math had the opposite effect on me. (until Calc 3!)  I loved it from the git-go!  So later in life, as a volunteer parent tutor in the hallway, I'd get frustrated when a kiddo would back away and convince themselves that math was too scary/hard to mess with. I just sat at that little desk wondering what friendly flashcards would look like? How about disguising them using birthday cakes, birthday candles, birthday bananas, and birthday colors?  I know for sure that kiddos' are not scared of birthdays!  I could call them "Flashcakes". 

And better still, what if instead of "flashing" them, the kiddos could deal out the cards and play games like Go Fish, Old Maid, War, and  Concentration? After all, kiddos having fun learn pretty darn well.

And even better yet, what if a kiddo could have fun practicing to read while this is all going down? Score one more for passion and patience!   Because each of these 100 flashcakes are introduced to the kiddo on the 10 birthday pages in each of the 10 mathamanimals' birthday books through fun bouncy rhyme. Not as those scary "ones through tens" but as One-a-Roo-Sues through Ten-ti-pede Petes!" Each of these 48 page full color books take the kiddo on a 10 birthday journey through the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle.

And then there is the icing on the cake. These books are laced with little life lessons like brushing/flossing your teeth and washing your hands, to Three-ba Rebas' teenage self-esteem issue on her sixth birthday when she turns eighteen (six candle three's on her cake)! As the reader/parent/teacher, you can bounce out of the rhymes and double-up these moments to teach the kiddos a lot more than math and reading.  (And if you really want to play, the ten birthday colors the kiddos will get used to with each birthday are in alphabetical order...have fun!)          

These are not textbooks, though. Just a bunch of ideas that are finally forming the fun I figured from them! While my ideas were ripening, I bothered just about anyone who would listen for their feedback. These many parents, teachers, and librarians were crucial in the evolution from sloppy copy to now. The last few years, I took the next logical step, and sought out feedback from my target audience. I formed the Ditto Kiddo Club and sent a sloppy copy with a set of homemade flashcakes through the mail to each kiddo. The comment cards they sent back, with that genuine kiddo perspective, were priceless.

So many folks along this journey would joke around with me and ask where I was when THEY were reading and learning math? I would just laugh and shrug, telling them I would try my best to be there for their kiddos. If this Kickstarter campaign is successful, you will help me keep that promise.

But the biggest personal thrill I will get if you all help jump-start my dream, is this. The Ditto Kiddo Club had five 'graduates', each getting through all eleven sloppy copies. Each of these five kiddos had their own favorite book. They don't know it, but I decided to dedicate each favorite in their name. Imagine their surprise and sense of self worth when I show up to present them an actual published copy... (If they can beat me in a game of Go Fish!)

Risks and challenges

Barring Mother Nature or Father Time speaking out, this 17 year project is virtually risk adverse to you as a donor. I hope that does not sound over confident. It is just that this project is that close, needing only that final big push from believers such as yourself. Sure things can happen. I guess I could announce the unlikely disclaimer of divorce here, whereas I can only guarantee 50% of your pledge rewards. This could be one half of the books you are entitled or all of the books you are entitled ripped in half. But all in all, I've got your back..umm books!

Over 17 years, many challenges have been overcome getting here. The biggest one remaining is not with the books, but with the Flashcakes. Except for the Ditto Kiddo Club 'homemade sloppy' copies those Kiddos got to keep and a complete professionally printed deck the illustrator gifted me, the Flashcakes only exist virtually on the website games. FULL DISCLOSURE: Those three steps forward for the Flaskcakes felt pretty damn good! But I want kids/adults sitting around tables dealing out the cards to each other! (maybe a stretch goal?). However it shakes out, I am convinced Kiddos having fun playing Concentration, Go Fish, War and Old Myrtle multiplies the chance they will learn their math facts with each new shuffle. (Next challenge: Bringing the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle board game to life!)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Love the idea? ....but low on funds! Tell you what. First off, your concrete reward for getting involved with this project is a great big virtual hug! That's it. Thank you for believing in my vision. But,instead of keeping your dollar, I am going to use it, with all the other buck pledges, to buy as many $10 books as I can and give them to local Kiddos in need. With each and every book, I will include 10 Ditto Kiddo Club thank you postcards. Each postcard will have postage and will be addressed to each of you ten who pledged a dollar. If the Kiddo/parent send these out as hoped, your guaranteed reward of a virtual hug for this pledge, just got a little icing on top. (If you do get the bonus postcard, please share and post it on facebook.)

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You just got a copy of the first book, Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle
    I'd like to be the first to welcome you and your kiddo to the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle! This first book of the series is just a click away, if you would like to preview it before the postman arrives. Just CLICK on the cover up under the video.( Please only watch once. This pledge does NOT include overnight delivery!) Tell me your kiddos' name when I get your address and stuff, and I'll write them a note and sign the book.

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    Pledge $11 or more About $11

    Adding a buck to your $10 pledge will get you one big virtual hug. That's it. But I am going to take this dollar and put it to good use, in the same manner as each dollar in the pledge of $1 above. So you might end up with a thank you card- written in crayon- in your mailbox. I really do appreciate you wanting to get involved in this project to help kiddos learn.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Now you have Book number 2, too!
    Bounce along in rhyme with One-a-roo Sue on her 10 birthday long journey through the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle. ( I'll personalize and sign all the books!)

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    Pledge $21 or more About $21

    Adding a buck to your $20 pledge will get you one GREAT big virtual hug AND a heartfelt thank you for believing in this project.That's it. Then I am going to take this dollar and follow the same drill as outlined in the pledge of $1 above. (The postman just might ring twice!)

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Add book number 3, Sabre-twooth Ruth to your kiddos' collection. Unlike One-a-roo Sue, whose birthdays bounce like me and you, Ruth's birthdays add a candle two each year. Math just isn't scary on top of a birthday cake!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Now you own the first five books of the series!
    Make room for Three-ba Reba and Silla Willa Aunt Four-illa on your kiddos' bookshelf. Twenty more birthdays and 96 more pages of full color fun! ENJOY!

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    Pledge $41 or more About $41

    Adding a buck to your $40 pledge will get you one GREAT big virtual hug and a HUGE heartfelt thank you for believing in this project. That's it. But, here again, I am going to invest this dollar as outlined in the pledge of $1 above and you might soon have a thank you card held on to your fridge with a magnet!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    This pledge adds books 6 & 7 to your kiddo's collection.
    Five-a-dile Lyle Pyle and (Sixpo-pot-amus) Six-po Joe will show your kiddo how candle 5's and candle 6's add up on their cakes.

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    Pledge $51 or more About $51

    This is your last chance to add a buck and receive one GREAT BIG virtual hug and a HUGE heartfelt thank you as a reward for believing in my hopes of helping Kiddos move forward. And that is all you will get for this extra buck. But this dollar will meet the same fate as all extra dollars,
    fulfilling the parameters set forth in the pledge of $1 above. So if you find a Ditto Kiddo Club thank you card in your mailbox soon...post it on facebook and let me share in the good news.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    The full set of eleven books is now yours!
    Seven Shep, Eight-a-gate Nate, (Nine-ocer-ous) Nine-o Flo and Ten-ti-pede Pete completes this Mathamanimal adventure through the Crazy Birthday Candle Jungle.

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    One full set of eleven books you can read with your Kiddos and add 10 bucks to the Kitty + four more donors = $50 I will buy a full set of eleven books for a class of Kiddos with a teacher who shares your goose-bumps from Kiddo thank you cards.(This set of books comes with 25 cards with postage and 5 addressed to each donor.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    One full set of books and $25 towards another full set (@$50) for a classroom of Kiddos.I will include 26 Thank You cards(13 for each of you donors) with each full set of books. Check your mailbox and please share and post on facebook.
    For being this thoughtful, I will include a matted picture of all the gang on the steps of the Jungle library. Just like each and every book, I will sign it and Eric, who brought all these characters to life, will too!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    This generous support will put two full sets of the Mathamanimal series in your mailbox. A great grand-kid gift idea? or split the cost with a fellow teacher!

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    What would you do with this third set? Think how many kiddos could check them out from your local school library...donated in your name!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Five full sets? Well, teachers are always buying scissors, paper and other school supplies for their kiddos. Return the favor and treat their kiddos to some Crazy Birthday Candle fun!

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Support at this level deserves a gift this good - 10 full sets of books. Some PTA's buy the kiddos playground equipment. Here is their chance to donate classroom equipment!!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    I hope you have as much free time as you have money! And I hope I can share some of that free time while sitting with you in front of some classes of Kiddos next fall. All I can guarantee for your pledge is one hell of a thank you! But I will try my darndest to hook up with you and help you read to some lucky bunch of Kiddos. (I am in Topeka KS)

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Funding period

- (33 days)