Since one of my daughters and husband both love math and frequently have math-related conversations over dinner, I could really relate to the main character in this book who loves writing!
Today’s Pick: The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.
by Greg Pincus
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he'd be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents' permission he's going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he's been playing fast and loose with the truth: "I LOVE math" he tells his parents. "I've entered a citywide math contest!" he tells his teacher. "We're going to author camp!" he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he's going to have to make good on his promises.
Hilariously it's the "Fibonacci Sequence" -- a famous mathematical formula! -- that comes to the rescue, inspiring Gregory to create a whole new form of poem: the Fib! Maybe Fibs will save the day, and help Gregory find his way back to the truth.
I loved this book! It’s always fun to read about how a character’s attempts to get out of trouble just make things worse. And it’s even better when the book is written with lots of humor and an engaging main character. The story moved along quickly and I finished this book in a day (probably because I was enjoying it so much). The chapter titles were great (e.g., Writing About Math Won’t Be as Easy As Pi) and each of the 14 chapters started with one of his “Fibs”, poems based on the Fibonacci sequence. Did I mention that I love books where kids explore some kind of unique passion or hobby? Gregory even learns something— to follow his heart, even when other people (like his parents) might not agree with his choices.
From a writing perspective, this book would be worth re-reading to study the dialogue, which seemed quite realistic; the humor, which was so right for the target age group; and the voice, which was distinctive and engaging.
“Some days you just need pie.”
"The next day at school, the test met all of Gregory's expectations. Unfortunately, that was the only positive about it."
“But as he grew up, he realized that the attic was basically like a foreign country: Mathland, the spot where his father retreated when he wanted to think and work and play with math.”
“The world always needs poetry.”
“Like, I subtract all the time, trying to figure out how many minutes are left in Mr. Mason’s history class, so I understand why math matters there. But Fibonacci numbers? Didn’t seem like they’d come up.”
Greg Pincus is a screenwriter, a children’s poet and a novelist. He lives in Los Angeles with his family and a dog. The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. is his first novel.
For more, visit Greg Pincus at his website or follow him on Twitter: @GregPincus
Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).