Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fractions = Trouble!

Boy, don't they! Fractions and I have never been friends. So I can completely identify with the hero of this appealing chapter book, a sequel to 7 x 9 = Trouble! Wilson never met a fraction he liked. He'd much rather play with his new pet hamster Pip (short for Pipsqueak). Instead, his parents inform him he'll have to start seeing a math tutor. Wilson is determined to keep his secret a secret--from his classmates and especially from his best friend, Josh, who's great at math. A subplot concerns the two boys' attempts at devising a winning science project. Josh wants to know if pickles can be made to explode. Wilson only knows that hamsters will figure in his.

Wilson is a believable third-grader with third-grade-size problems. Claudia Mills takes these problems seriously but still manages to let the fun shine through. G. Brian Karas's black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations add to the book's charm. Fans of Johanna Hurwitz's Monty series and Barbara Seuling's Robert books will enjoy reading about Wilson.

And as we learn from an author's note at the end of the book, Mills was also bad at math. And she ended up more than okay. Her books will bring hope to all of us who tremble at the sight of a numerator and denominator. Now which is which again?

Fractions = Trouble!
by Claudia Mills
illustrations by G. Brian Karas
Farrar Straus Giroux, 128 pages
Published: June, 2011

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