The Books for My Dog

I want to discuss a problem from a test I gave recently.

Problem. My dog, Fudge, likes books. He brought two books to his corner in the morning and three more books in the evening. How many books will he read tonight?

As I expected, many students didn’t pay attention and just summed up the two numbers in the problem and gave five as the answer. Here are three answers that I especially liked.

Answer 1. Zero, because most dogs can’t read.

This cautious student added most to be on the safe side.

Answer 2. You cannot tell how many books he will read. Just because he brings books to his corner doesn’t mean he will read them.

The second answer demonstrates great logical thinking, were Fudge a human. But the third answer made me laugh.

Answer 3. Three. If he brought three more books to his corner in the evening, it means he finished the two from that morning, so there are three books left for him to read.



  1. George.R:

    May I suggest a different approach?
    Answer: Zero. Poor Fudge has bookworms, so he is bringing the books to his corner just to get rid of them.
    (His boss is too frugal to buy some real pesticide medicament for the poor animal, or too busy creating funny Fu(d)zzy logic problems…) 🙂

  2. George.R:

    Another answer:
    One. The last book he brought to his corner was “The Dog delusion” by Richard Dawkins. When he will finish it, he will fall in a deep existential crisis…and never leave his corner again!
    (Actually, the whole thing was a conspiracy plot by the cat…)

  3. Ivan:

    George PĂłlya’s advise is:”If you cannot solve the proposed problem, try to solve first some related problem. Could you imagine a more accessible related problem?”

    In our case the easiest problem is: “My dog, Fudge, likes bones. He brought two bones to his corner in the morning and three more bones in the evening. How many bones will he read tonight?” The answer is ZERO (dogs chew on bones, but do not read them). Therefore, the answer to the original problem is ZERO too.

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