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Among the Odds & Evens: A Tale of Adventure [Hardcover]

Priscilla Turner , Whitney Turner


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Book Description

Sept. 1 1999
When X and Y, two Adventurers from the Land of Letters, crash-land in the Kingdom of Wontoo, they quickly learn that it is populated by two sorts of Numbers: the Odds, an eccentric bunch, and the Evens, orderly and predictable. While taking advantage of the Numbers' hospitality, the explorers begin to meddle with Wontooi custom, and it appears they may be wearing out their welcome. But the Numbers are unwavering in their Good Manners and sense of identity, and it soon becomes clear that, as the Lord High Mayor of Wontoo aptly puts it, "It will all add up in the end." The pun-filled text and high-energy pictures are bound to produce a number of chuckles.

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From Publishers Weekly

This arithmetic escapade whimsically alludes to classics by Jules Verne and H. Rider Haggard. The wayfaring variables X and Y discover a land inhabited by numerals when they crash their wood-and-canvas Aerocycle in the Kingdom of Wontoo (named for its founders, 1 and 2). As they repair their flying machine, X and Y study native customs. They observe that 2's and 4's are "even-tempered," while 3's and 5's "positively revel in peculiar dress and behaviorAone might even call them quite odd!"; the illustrations show Evens practicing uniform dance steps and individualistic Odds performing solo circus stunts. X and Y also note a basic math rule: adding two Evens or two Odds always results in an Even number. "It is only when one parent is Odd and the other is Even that we see Odd children. Most unletterlike!" fumes X. Yet X and Y come around in the end. The Turners (The War Between the Vowels and the Consonants) investigate only the numerals zero through nine, which are depicted as antic stick figures with bold black numerals for torsos. They leave to adult imaginations X and Y's eventual families of numerical and alphabetical progeny, born of seemingly insoluble equations. Though the text serves primarily to string together the mathematical puns, in sum this slyly comic tale earns more pluses than minuses for its inventive approach. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-Turner's attempt to create a story around a math concept doesn't quite add up. The personified letters X and Y set off from the Land of Letters and crash-land their Aerocycle in Wontoo, a country full of Numbers, where they are warmly welcomed as guests. After observing Wontoo society, they note differences between Odd and Even Numbers, and how each set acts (Odds dress wildly and dance in nightclubs, while Evens are described as predictable and "even-tempered"). X and Y come to the realization that two Odd Numbers always produce Even children; they find this fact disturbing and try to convince the Wontoois to change their ways. The polite Numbers wait patiently for the rude Letters to leave. Suddenly (and surprisingly), the Adventurers admit that they want to stay in Wontoo, eventually marrying and having children of their own. The language in this picture book is quite complex, containing words such as "retorted," "confession," "gone native" and "rejoined"; and the dialogue is occasionally stilted. While there are clever details in the illustrations, such as the letters' membership in the Royal Letters Society, or the depiction of X's lecture on "The Odd Issue," the book has a very limited audience. While not necessarily dealing with the concept of odd and even, Jon Scieszka's Math Curse (Viking, 1995) and Stuart Murphy's "MathStart" series (HarperCollins) do a much better job of creating stories around mathematical ideas.
Susan Marie Pitard, Weezie Library for Children, Nantucket Atheneum, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Far, far away, in a whole other part of the world, two Adventurers set off from the Land of Letters in their Aerocycle. Read the first page
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