I Was an Outer-Space Chicken (Alien Math #1)

David LaRochelle, illus. by Mike Gorman. Sterling, $6.95 paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-4549-2921-5
Though an extraterrestrial caper seems like an incongruous pairing with down-to-earth mathematical challenges, LaRochelle (Isle of You) cannily fuses the two in this sprightly series launch. Best friends and cocaptains of their school’s Math All-Stars team, Lamar and Lexie are riding in their apartment building’s elevator when they are abruptly transported to the spaceship of a furry purple creature, who is on a mission to collect “strange and unusual species” for her planet’s zoo. When Fooz humorously mistakes the kids for unintelligent chickens (which are on the zoo’s wish list), they solve a math problem to prove her wrong. The alien then agrees to return the kids to Earth, but meanwhile, the friends get lost exploring the fantastical planet and again employ their math smarts to navigate their way back to Fooz’s spaceship. LaRochelle shrewdly integrates the numerical puzzles (which involve patterns, probability, measuring systems, and symmetry) into his madcap plot, and the playful competition between the math whiz kids further energizes the story. In a concluding section, Lamar explains the mathematical solutions, offers alternate ways to reach the same conclusion, and outlines additional numerical conundrums to crack. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–10. (July)
Reviewed on : 06/20/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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