What You Need to Know:|
• Most third graders will relate to the topics in this book, which focus on school, siblings and friendship.
• This book can also be a great tool to help kids who have to deal with special needs or learning disabilities.
• The main character is a boy who struggles with math.
• Math tips and examples, specifically of fractions, are scattered throughout the book.
• In a “Note from the Author,” in the back of the book, Claudia Mills shares some of her own struggles with math.
Third grader Wilson Williams has a problem. He just can’t seem to understand fractions. Wilson’s parents’ solution, a tutor named Mrs. Tucker, is causing even bigger problems for Wilson. He is sure he’s the only kid in town with a tutor so he’s determined not to tell anyone. Of course, trying to keep secrets from Josh, his best friend, isn’t easy. Wilson already has his hands full trying to come up with an idea for a Science Fair experiment. He gets some help from his parents, his tutor and even his little brother, Kipper, and their pet hamster, Pip, but eventually Wilson also finds some solutions of his own. He becomes more comfortable with who he is, more confident in his abilities, and finally proud of his accomplishments.
The storyline is simple and straightforward. It focuses on very typical concerns relating to school, family, friends, and siblings. Although feelings are only briefly touched upon, we see that Wilson is a thoughtful kid who worries about what others will think of him and sometimes feels like things aren’t fair. He even briefly notices that his parents make different rules than Josh’s parents do, like when they allow Josh to attempt to make a pickle explode, as part of his Science Fair experiment. The kids in the story are kind and helpful, and being smart and doing well in school are viewed in a positive light. Readers will also be presented with a positive image of a tutor who incorporates Wilson’s interests into her lesson plans, offers him encouragement and helps to build his confidence.
G. Brian Karas
2011, 128 pages
Books for Boys, Family Life, Friendship, Math, Science, Siblings
• Why is Wilson so embarrassed about having a tutor?
• If you could enter a Science Fair, what experiment would you choose?
• Is there a subject at school that you find most challenging? How would a tutor help?
• Is it fair that Wilson has to share Pip with his brother?
• Why is it easier for Wilson to learn fractions from his tutor than from his teacher at school?
• Did the book teach you any tricks to help you with fractions? What are they?
• Do you notice any differences between the rules in your house and those at your friends' houses? Why?
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