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All of the Above Hardcover – September 6, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Exhausted by his efforts to teach math to apathetic middle schoolers, Mr. Collins proposes that his class attempt to build the worlds largest tetrahedron structure. The resulting endeavor, described in alternating chapters by Mr. Collins and four of the students, builds more than geometry as readers come to see them as individuals and as a developing unit. They include artistic tough guy James Harris III, who insists that the individual tetrahedrons color coordinate; Marcel the Magnificent, who works vigorously at his fathers barbecue grill; veteran foster child Sharice; and quietly ambitious Rhondell. Marcels dads recipes are sprinkled throughout. This novel is based on the true story of a Cleveland middle school tetrahedron built in 2002. Pearsall has a knack for creating strong narratives and characters that eschew predictability. While this solid, multivoiced offering is a hopeful one, the action is realistically gritty and true to its inner-city setting. The book may take a little hand-selling, but, like E. L. Konigsburgs The View from Saturday (S & S, 1996), it is a feel-good read.–Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Everyone knows that Washington Middle School is a dead end and its students have no future. Then, Mr. Collins, the seventh-grade math teacher, inadvertently challenges several students to build a tetrahedron (a 3-D multiplane structure) to break the Guinness world record. The students feign disinterest, but gradually the idea takes hold, ultimately drawing in troublemakers and well-behaved kids, parents, relatives, and community members alike. Told in alternating chapters by Mr. Collins and four of his students, Pearsall's novel, based on a real event in 2002--is a delightful story about the power of a vision and the importance of a goal. The authentic voices of the students and the well-intentioned, supportive adults surrounding them illustrate all that is good about schools, family, friendship, and community. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
All of the Above was one of those that I'd ignored. I've read other titles by Shelly Pearsall and have always enjoyed them. Yes, I know they are middle grade books aimed at middle schoolers. But that has never stopped me from enjoying a good book.
Mr. Collins struggles to spark some interest in math in his students. He comes up with the idea of constructing a tetrahedron (whatever that is, I had to look it up, so see I learned something already). The students feign disinterest at first. James Harris III is an artistic tough guy who puts himself in charge of color coordinating the triangular pieces. Marcel helps his father at his barbecue restaurant when he would rather be building the tetrahedron. Rhondell is quietly and systematically headed to college. And Sharice is the neglected foster child who sees the project as a safe warm, place to stay when the current foster mother locks her out of the house each night.
Pearsall is a wonderful writer with diverse characters who have depth. Their stories are real. So if you're looking for a change of pace, don't shy away stories that are classified as middle grade or young adult. You may find a hidden gem and learn about something new. All of the Above checked all the boxes for me.
Most recent customer reviews
Not an w read. A more entertaining book would have been a better choice for kids off this age.