Fractions = Trouble!

Fractions = Trouble!

3.8 5
by Claudia Mills, G. Brian Karas

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If Wilson Williams thought multiplication was difficult, he is finding fractions impossible. And when his parents hire a math tutor for him, he is sure he's the only kid in the history of Hill Elementary to have one. Wilson is determined to make sure that no one finds out, not even his best friend, Josh. At least his pet hamster, Pip, is sympathetic. Pip is going


If Wilson Williams thought multiplication was difficult, he is finding fractions impossible. And when his parents hire a math tutor for him, he is sure he's the only kid in the history of Hill Elementary to have one. Wilson is determined to make sure that no one finds out, not even his best friend, Josh. At least his pet hamster, Pip, is sympathetic. Pip is going to be part of Wilson's science fair project, because any project with hamsters in it is bound to be wonderful. But Josh has the coolest project of all: at what temperature does a pickle explode? Unfortunately, it looks as if Wilson's secret may end up exploding their friendship.

Claudia Mills' Fractions = Trouble is a fun and thoroughly relatable story that Kirkus Reviews calls an "excellent selection for early chapter-book readers."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Subplots involving Wilson’s science fair project and the disappearance of one of little brother Kipper’s beloved beanbag-animal companions add humor and pathos, respectively—all captured in Karas’s warm pencil sketches… whether math-challenged or math whizzes, readers will look forward to the further adventures of the sympathetic Wilson.” — Horn Book Magazine
Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
Nothing in the world feels worse to Wilson, who is in third grade, than knowing that he has to do fractions in school. As the easy-to-follow plot begins, Wilson confides in his hamster, Pip, that he especially dreads the fact that his parents are getting him a math tutor. It is totally embarrassing to him. However, his kind tutor knows just how to reach him when she has him draw hamsters to learn about fractions. So once the tutoring gets going, Wilson starts to enjoy fractions almost without realizing he is doing them. He keeps the tutoring a secret from his best friend Josh and misses some fun due to tutoring sessions. The tale takes a downside for Wilson when his friend finds out about the tutoring. Coupled with science fair projects and other school happenings Wilson's problems work themselves out and all ends well. This book teaches lessons about family ties, communication, and work ethics in an entertaining way. The pace keeps moving and seven to ten year old children will be able to relate to the incidents. This book is a sequel to 7 x 9 = Trouble which is also a good read about Wilson and his family. Teachers can suggest that students having math problems read the books to find out they are not alone. Humorous black and white illustrations chronicle the events. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 2–3—In this sequel to 7 x 9 = Trouble! (Farrar, 2002), Wilson is struggling with fractions. When his parents decide to hire a math tutor, the third grader is embarrassed to be the only kid at Hill Elementary to have this extra help. He is determined to make sure nobody finds out, especially his friend Josh. Meanwhile Wilson, his younger brother Kipper, and Josh are all working on their science-fair projects. Wilson's project involves his pet hamster, Kipper's tests camping tents, and Josh is trying to figure out at what temperature a pickle explodes. As Wilson starts his math tutoring, he is surprised to find that he is allowed to draw hamsters as a method of learning fractions. Can he pass the fractions test and finish his project? Will keeping his tutoring sessions a secret ruin his friendship with Josh? All ends well as Wilson learns that he isn't the only student struggling at school. Short chapters and several full-page illustrations make this title perfect for new chapter-book readers. In addition, students having difficulty with math will relate to this lighthearted story.—Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH
Kirkus Reviews

Third-grader Wilson Williams knows he'll never learn fractions: "Multiplication was hard enough," he tells his pet hamster, Pip.

Worse, his parents have arranged for a math tutor. Just the idea of a tutor is embarrassing, but sympathetic Mrs. Tucker uses his love for hamsters to help him understand the math, and soon he's quite clear about the difference between the Nice Numerator and the Dumb Denominator. At the same time, Pip becomes the basis for a successful science-fair project. Not only does Wilson have some academic success, he makes his little brother happy. Though only in kindergarten, Kipper has a science-fair project too. In the process of Kipper's investigations, one of his favorite stuffed animals disappears. Big brother Wilson comes to the rescue. Most satisfying of all, he discovers that others—even his very best friend—are tutored, too. The short chapters have believable dialogue and plenty of reader appeal. In one, Wilson tries to teach his hamster to shake hands; in another, his friend Josh experiments with blowing up a pickle. Karas' scratchy grayscale drawings, one to a chapter, support the story. This sequel to7 x 9 = Trouble(2002) follows logically but also stands on its own.

Familiar school concerns, nicely resolved, make this another excellent selection for early chapter-book readers.(Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.73(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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Read an Excerpt

Fractions = Trouble!

By Claudia Mills

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Copyright © 2011 Claudia Mills
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780374367169

1Whenever Wilson Williams had a problem, he talked to his hamster, Pip. He had had Pip for only two weeks, but already she understood him better than anybody else in his family did."Multiplication was hard enough," Wilson told Pip on the first Saturday morning in April. "But now we have to do fractions."Pip twitched her nose."Even worse, Mrs. Porter is giving us a huge test in three weeks."Pip blinked."But that's not the worst thing."Pip scampered across Wilson's bedspread. Luckily Wilson had his bedroom door closed so that she couldn't escape and get lost."Wait," Wilson said to Pip. "Don't you want to know what the worst thing is?"He scooped up Pip and held her in both hands, facing him, as he leaned back against his pillow. Her bright little eyes really did look interested.When Wilson had gotten Pip, her name had been Snuggles, but he had changed it to Pip, short for Pipsqueak. Pip's brother, Squiggles, was the classroom pet in Wilson's third-grade classroom."The worst thing," Wilson said, "is that my parents are getting me a math tutor."Pip's eyes widened with indignation."I know." Wilson set her down on his knee. Instead of scurrying away, she sat very still, gazing up at him sadly. But no amount of hamster sympathy could change that one terrible fact.A math tutor! That meant Wilson would go to school and do fractions, and then after school he'd go see Mrs. Tucker and do more fractions. He'd have fractions homework for Mrs. Porter and more fractions homework for Mrs. Tucker.And suppose his friends at school found out. Nobody else he knew had a math tutor. There were other kids who were bad at math. There were other kids who thought fractions were hard. There were even other kids who thought fractions were impossible. But Wilson had never heard of any other kid who had a math tutor.Wilson picked up Pip again and stroked the soft fur on the top of her little head. Pip was the only good thing left in Wilson's life. From now on, the rest of his life was going to be nothing but fractions. 
"Now, come on," Wilson's father said at lunch. "Cheer up. The point of a math tutor is to help you.""You've been struggling so much," his mother went on. "First with multiplication, and now with fractions. A math tutor will make math come more easily to you."Wilson's little brother, Kipper, who was in kindergarten, spoke up next. "Can I have a math tutor, too? Wilson and I can share the math tutor. Like we share Pip."Wilson stopped glaring at his parents and started glaring at Kipper instead. Itwas annoying enough to have a little brother, but Wilson had to have a little brother who happened to love math, and who was good at it, too.To the left of Kipper's plate sat his beanbag penguin, Peck-Peck. To the right sat his beanbag alligator, Snappy."What's a math tutor?" Kipper made Peck-Peck ask in a deep, growly voice. For some strange reason, Kipper seemed to think that was how a penguin should talk."Does a math tutor toot on a horn?" Kipper made Snappy ask. "Toot! Toot!" Snappy's head bobbed up and down with each cheerful toot, as if he were an alligator tugboat."Mom!" Wilson complained. "Make Kipper stop!"But instead of giving a warning look to Kipper, she gave one to Wilson. "Kipper's just playing." Then she actually leaned across the table and spoke directly to Snappy. "No, Snappy, a math tutor doesn't go 'Toot.' A math tutor helps people learn math. A math tutor has a very important job."This was too much. Who else lived in a family where adults had serious conversations with beanbag alligators?"Toot! Toot!" Snappy said again, apparently not even listening to the answer to his own stupid question."That's enough, Kipster," their father said.Wilson was grateful to him for trying, but it was already too late."May I be excused?" Wilson asked."You haven't finished your grilled-cheese sandwich," his mother said."I'm not hungry." Anymore, Wilson added to himself.Before Peck-Peck or Snappy could make any further brilliant remarks, Wilson pushed his chair back from the table and fled to his room to have an intelligent conversation with Pip. 
Wilson's best friend, Josh Hernandez, came over at two. As if Wilson's mother was sorry for not standing up for him at lunch, she took Kipper for a long bike ride so that the two older boys could play undisturbed.Wilson didn't have a video game system, and he wasn't allowed to watch TV on playdates, so he and Josh tried to build the world's fastest race car with some junk in the garage. His dad made microwave popcorn, and Wilson and Josh had a contest for throwing popcorn up into the air and catching it in their mouths. Wilson won,with seven straight mouth catches to Josh's four. He began to feel more hopeful about his life."Do you have an idea for your science fair project yet?" Josh asked, after missing another popcorn catch. April was science fair month at Hill Elementary."Nope." Wilson had been too busy trying to talk his parents out of making him have a math tutor. "Do you?""Uh-huh."Wilson could tell Josh was waiting for him to ask what it was. "What is it?""I have to warn you," Josh said. "It's not just a good idea, it's a great idea. Are you ready?"Wilson nodded. He couldn't believe Josh thought his idea was so wonderful. Usually Josh thought everything was terrible."All right. Here it is. At what temperature does a pickle explode?"Okay, Wilson had to admit, Josh's idea was wonderful."You could do something about popcorn," Josh offered. "Who is better at catching popcorn in their mouths, boys or girls? Or kids or grownups? Or dogs or cats? Or kids or dogs? Or--"Wilson shoved him good-naturedly. "I get the idea.""You could even thrill Mrs. Porter and use fractions," Josh suggested. "Like: cats catch half as much popcorn as dogs. Or grownups catch half as much popcorn as kids. Or--"This time Wilson shoved Josh harder. It was fine for Josh to joke about fractions. Josh was pretty good at math.Of course, to be fair to Josh, Josh didn'tknow that Wilson was about to become the only kid in the history of Hill Elementary to have a math tutor.Wilson was going to make sure that Josh never found out.Text copyright © 2011 by Claudia Mills Pictures copyright © 2011 by G. Brian Karas All rights reserved


Excerpted from Fractions = Trouble! by Claudia Mills Copyright © 2011 by Claudia Mills. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

Claudia Mills is the acclaimed author of many books for children, including How Oliver Olson Changed the World  and 7 x 9 = Trouble!.  She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

G. Brian Karas is the illustrator of numerous books for children. He lives in the Hudson Valley in New York with his family.

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Fractions = Trouble! 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book i Over all this book is good. it could be more detailed but i like it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book LOVE IT
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I jest like to post but in the ten book i like to post becauesit looks cool