What You Need to Know:|
• Middle school is a turning point for Gregory K, as he learns to be more honest with his friends and family.
• Gregory's best friend is a girl named Kelly who is moving at the end of the school year.
• The story includes references to a variety of math concepts and poetry styles.
• Notice the entertaining "Fibs" that start off each chapter.
• In this case, Fibs are short poems, similar to haiku. They are based on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers.
• Connecting poetry and Fibonacci is not a new concept, but it was made more popular in 2006 when Greg Pincus
wrote a post on his blog, GottaBook, asking readers to write their own Fibs.
• This article in the New York Times explains more about this form of poetry and how Greg Pincus started the trend.
• This book is the debut novel for Greg Pincus.
• Be prepared for food cravings - Gregory spends a lot of the book sharing his love of pie!
Gregory K tells a lot of fibs. Some are the typical lies to get out of a sticky situation or to avoid conflicts, but his other "Fibs" are actually poems inspired by the Fibonacci sequence. Gregory loves poetry, but he keeps that a secret from his family. They're all math fanatics and for some crazy reason, they think that Gregory is too. Why does Gregory deceive his family? Is it because he wants to fit in, wants to make them proud or just doesn't want to disappoint them? Maybe it's just that they don't want to see the truth. Either way, it's getting harder to keep up the charade.
The math in 6th grade is more challenging, and Gregory is struggling. When his grades drop, his parents threaten to send him to Math is Magic Camp. There are several reasons why Math Camp doesn't work for Gregory. Besides the fact that he doesn't even really like math, his dream is to go to Author's camp with his best friend, Kelly. He's been waiting for the right moment to bring it up with his parents, and now it doesn't seem like there's ever going to be a good time. To make matters worse, Gregory learns that Kelly will be moving at the end of the school year so Author's Camp is their last chance to spend time together. It's a lot for an eleven-year-old to handle, but Gregory's got a plan!
At first he tries to set the record straight, telling his parents simply, "I don't love math.", but his dad thinks it's a joke. His father takes family dinners seriously, but doesn't seem to want to take his son seriously or to really see him for who he is. I'm not sure why Gregory's parents believe that he loves math when that couldn't be further from the truth, but maybe they're just too preoccupied with other things. Perhaps that's why they suggest that his incredibly nasty older brother, Owen, should tutor him. Meanwhile, Owen, known as O, is constantly teasing him and tormenting him, while poor Gregory is like Cinderella, stuck in the basement bedroom because Owen needs more outlets in his room.
Luckily, Gregory has his friend Kelly. Their friendship may be a bit unrealistic, but it sets a nice example of a boy/girl relationship which can sometimes be hard to find during those middle school years. They walk to school together and spend their time sharing delicious pies at Kelly's mom's coffee shop. Gregory shares his writing with Kelly, and they critique and encourage each other. Kelly can be a little bossy, but even when his plan includes entering a big math contest, she sticks by him. Gregory is emotional about her leaving, even noticing "...that each building, each corner, every tree, and every person he passed made him think of Kelly and something they'd said or done together."
In addition to Kelly, Gregory gets inspiration and support from his math teacher. Mr. Davis says, "It's wonderful the way O sees all things mathematical so clearly. But you know, I like the way Gregory sees the world too." Mr. Davis is a bit eccentric, but his enthusiasm is a nice touch. He seems to "get" Gregory, giving him an assignment to keep a journal about how math influences everyday life and therefore helping him to see the value of this important subject. The lively cover image will invite readers in, and Gregory's fresh perspective on life will keep them entertained.
2013, 240 pages
Books for Boys, Family Life, Friendship, Identity, Math, Moving, Poetry, School, Siblings
• Why does Gregory feel he needs to hide his poetry from his family?
• What could his parents have done differently so that Gregory wouldn't have felt the need to lie to them?
• Why does his brother behave so rudely toward him, and why don't his parents reprimand him for it?
• Are you honest with your parents about your interests?
• How does the parable about George Washington and the cherry tree relate to Gregory's situation?
• Describe Kelly and Gregory's relationship? Is it realistic?
• Why does Kelly kick Gregory in the calf?
• How does his friendship with Kelly help him deal with his problems?
• How would you react if your best friend was moving away?
• What role does Mr. Davis play in getting Gregory to tell the truth?
• How does the journal help to change Gregory's view on math?
• How do Gregory's lies get him into trouble?
• Kelly seems to be able to tell when Gregory is lying, so why can't his parents see through him?
• Is it ever OK to lie? In what situations do you think it might be acceptable?
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