Monday, July 4, 2011

The Secret Spiral by Gillian Neimark

It's just an ordinary day for Flor Bernoulli. After spending a boring day at school, she heads to her favourite spot in Brooklyn: the Sky High Pie Shop. She likes the man who runs it, Dr. Pi, but when he starts talking about magic spirals and cosmic fire, she starts to worry that he's a little bit crazy. Then very strange things start happening and Flor might be the only one who can help Dr. Pi.

It's almost embarrassing to admit, but even with characters named Pi and Bernoulli it took me awhile to realize that this novel centred on mathematical principles. There's also a lot of wordplay (puns, rhymes, poems) going on (twin brothers, for example, are named Mr. Bit and Mr. It). I don't think you have to know a lot about the math behind it to follow the plot, which is good, because I'm not sure how much the target audience might know about pi, Bernoulli, and spirals. I liked the idea of having a book that has so math in it; I think I would have enjoyed the premise as a child and I think there are kids that it will appeal to. The book ends with a sharp cliffhanger (and there are also details introduced earlier in the story that aren't visited again in the book), so it's hard to know quite what to make of it on its own. Look for a second book to build on this one.

See more at Simon and Schuster.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I Want Your Moo by Marcella Bakur Weiner and Jill Neimark
The Unknowns by Benedict Carey
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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