By: David Lubar
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: October 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 17, 2014
Ms. Fractalli’s class was on their way to a field trip to the Mobious Mathematics Museum. Boooring! “I’m counting on you,” she told Logan, “to see that Benedict behaves.” That would be a lot of counting because Benedict never behaved. Everyone was heading to the Chamber of Fractions, but that restricted area that was off limits to the public looked a whole lot better. Leave it to Benedict to figure that it was just the place to head to. Yep, Logan could c-o-u-n-t on Benedict to make a mess of things. Under the rope and down the stairs he went to check things out.
Dr. Thagoras just happened to be in one of those rooms downstairs. The doctor was cool, but the robot he was working with was awesome. Benedict and Logan soon found out that its name was “Cypher, the Number Cruncher,” part of a new exhibit for the museum. The weird thing was that Cypher only knew two digits, as in binary like a computer. “I love numbers,” Cypher droned. “Numbers are wonderful. I am numbers. Numbers are wonderful.” Not. The robot went on and on until smoke literally came out his ears. And then Benedict had yet another idea. He began to shout at Cypher. “Numbers are stupid!”
Blah, blah, blah. Logan didn’t quite know what to do and things got scary when Cypher had one more phrase for them. “You are wrong about numbers. You must be numbed.” Huh? A “bolt of energy” quickly zapped Benedict and Logan in their heads and then there was darkness. After Dr. Thagoras splashed a little water on them they left Mobious and were soon back in the classroom. Ms. Fractalli promised that if they did well on the math test they would “earn a class party with ice cream sundaes.” Awesome! Well, almost, because Benedict and Logan were numbed and knew nothing about math. How could they possibly ace that test if they couldn’t even count?
This is a fun, humorous tale about math that young readers will love. Of course the premise of this tale is that yes indeed, there are lots of uses for that seemingly useless subject ... math. Benedict and Logan embark on a numbed adventure finding just how many day-to-day uses they really had for it. In their scramble to regain their skills they head back to the Mobious to regain them. In the process they learn all kinds of very interesting math hints, hints that youngsters can use to wow their friends and potentially ace their own tests. The flow of the story is fun, exciting, and far from boring as Benedict and Logan learn all about math.
Quill says: If you have a young math hater in your classroom, they might just love it after reading this book!