OK, some truth-telling to get out of the way.
1. I am not exactly super-great at math.
2. But I sort of LOVE math.
3. At least the idea of math.
4. Especially in the contrarian form of female-person-who-is-a-big-reader-and-isn't-expected-to-be-able-to-add-but-can.
5. I blew off math after the requirements in high school, did some desultory attempts in college then stopped. I regret this.
All of which is in some way to explain my distinct pleasure when Chestnut came home from school all revved up and thrilled, waving this around:
See, I already love Louis Sachar. And I love the Wayside School series, which devotes some real passion towards being really as silly as kids like to be. And to see the two of them along for the ride with math? An absolute pleasure.
Not to mention watching Chestnut so, so happy, sort of walking around with the book all over the house with exaggerated casualness, as in "Oh this? This is just my cool math book, because I'm really good at math and I like to do silly stuff and math is sort of cool, you know? No big deal or anything." The book gave her such a powerful sense of ownership—this is my book; it speaks to me.
And that perfect intimacy is where happiness is made, I think.
So thanks (again!), Louis Sachar. Way to spread the joy around.