Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Boy Who Loved Math/ Lucky Ducklings/ Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham

Borrowed from the Camden County Library System

Paul Erdos was a mathematical genius from birth, but his love of math and numbers overshadowed all the rest of his life.  He was unable to do so many normal things.  In fact, as an adult everyone wanted to work with him, but that entailed taking care of him.  He couldn't do his laundry or butter his bread, or do any of the things that most people take for granted.

He made up for all of his many deficiencies by being someone who loved to share his knowledge. He made friends all over the world, going from country to country to help people with their math problems.  

I usually think of geniuses as people who have knowledge/understanding gaps of really basic things.  Erdos had those in spades. But, he seems like such a good natured guy.  He didn't want to take over for people, or push them aside, but wanted to help them prove what they set out to prove.  It's nice to see someone so talented, but without all the ego.  

It goes to show you that a good guy doesn't have to finish last. He/she can certainly make friends and earn the respect of his/her peers.  Erdos needed a lot of extra help, but he was such a good guy that all the friends he made wanted to help him, and he certainly returned the favor with his knowledge.

Lucky Ducklings (A True Rescue Story) by Eva Moore and Nancy Carpenter

Borrowed from my local library 

A beautifully illustrated picture book that tells the story of a family of ducklings who get separated from their mother when they fall into a storm drain.  Once the mother duck realized what happened, she stood by the sewer, unable to leave her stranded babies.  

Luckily, for all, a group of people, civilians and firefighters set to work to save the ducklings and return them to the care of their mother.  
Moore and Carpenter have created a treasure that is sure to wind up a classic.

Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything  by Maira Kalman

I've read some really great biographies written for children. When I started this one, I thought it just wasn't going to be nearly as interesting as many of the amazing ones I've read recently.  But, this turned out to be way way better that I anticipated.  

Kalman has a different way of telling her story, one that fit very well with the way I think of things. She covered sensitive subjects, big ideas and made them all clear and simple, even things that are so complicated it seems impossible.  

This book shows Jefferson, warts and all, a very full picture of a complicated man and all that he did, good and bad.  This was one of the best surprises I've had this year. And, that's saying something.

No comments: