cover image Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

Joseph D'Agnese, , illus. by John O'Brien. . Holt, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6305-9

Math lover or not, readers should succumb to the charms of this highly entertaining biography of medieval mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci. “You can call me Blockhead. Everyone else does,” opens the lighthearted narrative. As an adult, he works out a math problem that involves reproducing rabbits and discovers a pattern that repeats itself in nature, which becomes the sequence of numbers that now bears his name. Hence, his obsession is vindicated: “All my life people had called me Blockhead because I daydreamed about numbers. But how could that be bad? Mother Nature loved numbers too!” D'Agnese's colloquial tone (King Frederick II calls Fibonacci a “smart cookie”) lures readers into the story and even invites them to ferret out patterns in the illustrations. Atop dappled backgrounds, O'Brien's delicate swirls and hatch marks echo the mathematical patterns—another graceful connection between math and the real world in which children live. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)