Not only tackling fractions, but simplifying them, this fills a need and thoroughly entertains.
George Cornelius Factor (G.C.F., get it?) collects fractions. But he’s not alone: Baron von Mathematik and Madame de Géométrique also covet the 5/8 that is newly up for auction. But the nefarious Dr. Brok, a master of disguise, steals it. He “can take a 1/2 and turn it into a 2/4 or a 3/6. It’s still the same fraction, but it looks different.” George won’t be deterred. He invents a Reducer—half ray gun, half calculator—that zaps fractions into their lowest terms and goes to Dr. Brok’s mansion to confront him and find the 5/8. A clever bit of detective work and a rousing action sequence later, and the 5/8 is back to its lowest terms and part of George’s collection. Throughout, Einhorn finds ways to humorously add fractions to his tale—the fraction lovers bid portions of $1 million, and Brok’s mansion is 1/10 of a mile tall—and painlessly describes the process of reducing them to their lowest terms. Backmatter summarizes the learning, though not as simply as the text. Clark’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations truly make the characters’ personalities shine. Dr. Brok looks something like professor Hinkle of Frosty the Snowman fame, while the pages simply ooze with the aura of a great mystery.
No question—a large fraction of parents and teachers will be reaching for this. (Math picture book. 7-10)