June 27, 2014

Fiction Friday: Chapter 2

Happy Fiction Friday folks!

This week I read two books related to math...well, sort of.

Sophie Simon Solves Them All
by Lisa Graff

Sophie Simon is brilliant. Mensa brilliant. She's the only 3rd grader in the world who would rather study calculus and perform open heart surgery on an earthworm than attend a pool party extravaganza. Her parents are worried though because Sophie doesn't have any friends. In Sophie's quest to earn enough money to buy a fancy graphing calculator she ends up using her smarts to help her classmates and discovers friends may not be such a bad thing to have.

Sophie Simon Solves Them All is another introductory chapter book that will surprise you! Lisa Graff, author of Umbrella Summer and Double Dog Dare, creates a fun filled page turner.  It can be difficult to develop characters and a quality story line that keeps young and old readers engaged in less that 125 pages, but Lisa Graff does so flawlessly. This would be a great read aloud grades 2-4 and a must for any classroom collection of emerging chapter book readers. (Other great introductory chapter books I have previously reviewed include Waiting on the Magic, Hamster Magic, EllRay Jake is NOT a Chicken, and How Oliver Olsen Changed the World)

Athlete vs. Mathlete
by W.C. Mack

Owen and Russell Evans are fraternal twins, who are in the 7th grade and the polar opposite of each other. Owen is the athlete, the basketball player, the popular kid. Russell is the book worm, the nerd, the genius. He's in charge of the Masters of the Mind club and has zero coordination. Everyone agrees that the last place Russell belongs is the basketball court. However, when the new coach recruits Russell to try out for the basketball team because of his height, no one is more surprised than Russell to find out he's got skills. He may not be able to dribble,but he can block shots and make the ever elusive jump shot. Suddenly, Owen is no longer the only basketball star of his family and the focus of all his father's attention. Oh, sibling rivalry. 

Athlete vs. Mathlete is a fast paced, easy read, with solid character development. The story is told from alternating perspectives of Owen and Russell allowing the reader to see the two dramatically different points of view.  Both brothers are extremely likable, even Owen as you watch him become more and more jealous of his twin. Poor kid! I completely understood where he was coming from. It would be tough to have a brother who was a basketball star, a super genius, and an all around nice guy. Sheesh! Satisfying plot and very relatable for kids.

Another thing I liked about this book was the readability. The characters are both older giving the book a wide range appeal, but the language and structure of the book keep it right at a 4th grade level. This would be a great book for 5th/6th grade reluctant readers who may be reading slightly below grade level. It's engaging, it's relevant, it's funny, and most importantly it's readable. 

This would be another good read aloud for upper elementary and I'm certain will be a hit with my 4th graders this year, especially the boys!

What did you read this week?  We'd love to hear about your newest finds or your oldest favorites. Link up to Fiction Friday to celebrate children's literature and share books. Please don't forget to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to here.

Thanks so much and happy reading!


  1. I love Sophie Simon! I'm adding your other book to my list - sounds like one I'd like.

    Math is Elementary

    1. Awesome! I'm so glad you found a new read. :)

  2. Both of these sound great! Another book along the lines of book smart vs. sports star is Game Changer by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I was thinking of reviewing that this week. Maybe next :)


    1. Oh, I love Margaret Peterson Haddix but I haven't read Game Changer. Please do review soon so I can learn more about it. Many of her books are more of a fun Kindle read for me than a classroom read for my 4th graders. :)


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