Friday, November 19, 2010

All of the Above

All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall
I am not much of a sports fan. When I watch a game, I tend to pick a team to win after I have started watching the game. I'm not fussy but I do have a love for the underdog player(s) that can beat the bigger, wealthier, stronger (you name the adjective) opponent to win. I think that's why I enjoyed All of the Above. The characters in this story are very likeable underdogs.
All of the Above is a contender for this year's Virginia Reader's Choice in the Middle School category. It's a multi-voice novel about how a rather non-impressive math teacher and a group of students known for being disadvantaged set out to make the largest tetrahedron known to man….quite a math lesson for them and readers.
What I love about this school story is that each character's story, entwined with the others, gets me to cheer for each person through their challenges, fights and tragedies. At one point in the story all seems lost….I mean ALL seems lost. But the support of key adults for the hard luck kids and the fierce determination of the students to achieve changes them from underdogs into victors….and this last sentence is NOT a spoiler!
Recipes from one of the character's all through the book carry the tone and emotion from chapter to chapter in a fun way—and kids might even try making some of the tasty sounding dishes. I recommend this book for boys and girls in grades 5-8.

Pearsall, S. All of the Above. New York: Little Brown & Co, 2006. Print.

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