Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by By Joseph D’Agnese, illustrated by John O’Brien

Leonardo Fibonacci loves numbers in a way that his Pisa countrymen do not understand. His mathematical obsession causes his peers to nickname him "blockhead" because digits often distract Fibonacci from getting things done. As he grows up, Fibonacci leaves Pisa to travel the world as a merchant.  But during his travels, Fibonacci uncovers the mathematical pattern in nature, later called the Fibonacci sequence.

In the author's note, D'Agnese acknowledges that there isn't much information on Fibonacci's life. Scholars know Fibonacci was negatively nicknamed, discovered his sequence in observing rabbits, and introduced the numbers we use today from Hindu-Arabic numerals. Outside of these facts, D'Agnese uses his imagination to fill in the historical gaps by adding a "friendly ghost" element to the tale. At the end of the book, there are mathematical activities for kids to discover the Fibonacci sequence in nature and to search for the sequence in O'Brien's illustrations.

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