Review of Fractions = Trouble! by Claudia Mills

For many third graders, math is a struggle, and fractions are trouble!  But here is help.  For homework, have them read this book.

Wilson can’t understand fractions, so his mother makes him go to a tutor every Saturday morning.  He is humiliated.  He keeps his tutor a secret from everyone.  But he is surprised that the tutor lets him draw pictures of his hamster and best friend, Pip.  And he is even more surprised that he is learning about fractions from drawing hamsters.

This lower-grades chapter book does a great job of pulling us into Wilson’s life at home with his irritating little brother, his best friend and their school science projects, and his struggles with all of these.  The author does an excellent job conveying an understanding of fractions, using simple everyday examples from Wilson’s world, and she makes the educational part of the book palatable and so entertaining, readers might not even notice they’re learning.

The relationships in the family and between friends are realistic and interesting; they are reminiscent of the ordinary siblings, parents and neighbors in the Beverly Cleary books.  Claudia Mills has a great talent for evoking our care and concern for this little boy and his brother.  What a great story.  I got so into it, I even got teary at the end!

If you want more reasons to pick up this book, take a look at the awards it has won:

An ALA Notable Children’s Book

A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year

A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book

Virginia Young Readers Award

If the child in your life enjoys Fractions = Trouble!, they will want to check out Claudia Mills’ book 7×9=Trouble! next.

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