Review of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., by Greg Pincus

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.

by Greg Pincus

Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic), 2013. 226 pages.

Full disclosure: I met the author of this book, Greg Pincus, at KidLitCon09. He told about taking the social media world by storm by his Fibs — a form of poetry based on Fibonacci numbers — and how he got the contract for this book. I was delighted with the math/poetry connection, so I showed Greg the Prime Factorization Sweater I was wearing, and he was most appreciative. Definitely a nice guy, and I knew I’d want to read his book.

And Greg’s Fibs are in this book. Gregory K. is a kid who wants to be an author in a family of math lovers. Now, I wouldn’t have forgiven the author if he had suggested those two things are opposites. He didn’t do that.

Gregory wants to go to Author Camp this summer — for one last chance to have time with his best friend, Kelly, before she moves away. But his parents want him to go to Math Camp, and think he wants to go there, too. Why can’t Gregory tell his parents the truth? That he doesn’t actually like math, but loves writing poetry, and is actually quite good at it?

His dad loved Mr. Davis and math, and so did his brother, O. Gregory did not, though he found it wise to be enthusiastic whenever the subject came up, since his peppiness was interpreted as shared math excitement and usually prevented specific questions.

Gregory tells some fibs, first to his friend (that he’s already talked to his parents about Author Camp) and then to his parents, trying to soften them up to actually make the request. And one fib leads to another.

Mr. Davis is portrayed as a quirky and understanding math teacher. He comes up with a project that sets Gregory studying the Fibonacci numbers, and later he figures out how he can apply that to poetry. But getting there is not easy!

This is an excellent portrayal of regular middle school kids with regular middle school concerns. There’s an added touch of creativity with the Fibs. And I do love the message that comes through by the end that math and writing can coexist and enhance one another.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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