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THE 14 FIBS OF GREGORY K.

The addition of math-contest pressure and the impending subtraction of a best friend equal a stressful sixth-grade year for Gregory Korenstein-Jasperton.

Gregory’s lifelong pretense that he loves math as much as the rest of his family—really, he prefers writing—catches up with him when long division eludes him. Worse, Kelly, his best friend and writing buddy, is moving at the end of the year. Of course, they can see each other at Author’s Camp in the summer, if Gregory does well in school. Extra credit for entering the City Math contest might improve his math grade. It would certainly please his father, the first contest winner. This family and friendship story is the author’s first novel. Each chapter begins with a poem in a form that will be familiar to readers of his poetry. These “fibs” have six lines with their syllable count based on the Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. They chronicle Gregory’s state of mind and contribute to the final, satisfactory solution. Dialogue and humor carry the third-person narrative along swiftly, and the characters are appealing. It is unusual to meet a family in middle-grade fiction that enjoys playing math games at the table, and it’s refreshing to be reminded of the importance of honesty with family and friends. By any reckoning, a successful debut. (Fiction. 8-12)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-439-91299-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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FAKER

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences.

A con man’s son yearns for a different way of life.

Having helped his single dad fleece wealthy marks since kindergarten, Trey is adept at spotting their rich offspring in each new school he attends and cultivating them until the time comes for a quick getaway. Now that he’s 12, though, the urge to make real friends and put down some roots has become insistent—particularly since he’s drawn to Kaylee, a new classmate in his latest middle school. How can he convince his dad, who’s in the midst of luring local investors into a fantastically lucrative scheme involving a fictive electric car, that it’s time to bag the family profession and settle down? Korman goes more for ironic humor than the physical or stand-up sort in this book, as shown by Trey’s enrollment in an ethics class that forces him into some decidedly hypocritical stances. Much like Trey himself, instant new bestie Logan and his parents turn out to be not at all who they seem. And though there are no bullies or real baddies in the cast on the way to the story’s rosy but implausible resolution, Trey’s malign, high-strung, and wildly reckless huckster of a little sister from hell definitely adds both conflict and suspense to this provocative outing. Main characters read white.

Glitzy glimpses of life on the make, lightened by a focus on alternatives rather than consequences. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338826753

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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