Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills (2014)

In this second chapter book in the Franklin School Friends series, Annika struggles with her best friends' misunderstanding of her interest in math. It is not until she enters a sudoku contest and helps her friends solve a major baking problem that she realizes how special her talent really is.

Whereas the previous book, Kelsey Green, Reading Queen focused on the need for a gifted student to be charitable toward struggling classmates, this follow-up focuses on an internal struggle on the part of a gifted child to accept her own unique abilities and to share them with others. Annika's turmoil over being teased or misunderstood for liking math highlights the fact that Claudia Mills is deeply in touch with the concerns of schoolchildren and has empathy for even their smallest struggles. Even kids who do not like math themselves will feel for Annika and relate to her desire to be accepted and rewarded for doing the things she loves. Kids will also really enjoy the disastrous baking exploits the three girls share as they prepare for a school carnival.

Annika Riz, Math Whiz is not quite as strong as Kelsey Green, Reading Queen, but those who have already begun the series will undoubtedly pick it up. If nothing else, the story presents math in a positive light and as a viable interest for young girls. This book is most appropriate for grades 2 to 4.

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