LEO + LEA

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by Monica Wesolowska ; illustrated by Kenard Pak RELEASE DATE: Aug. 2, 2022

A child who likes to count meets a new classmate who likes to draw. What could they possibly have in common?

In this sparely told and illustrated episode, Leo, depicted with Asian features, walks to school counting: one flower, two trees, three squirrels, five steps, eight new classmates, 13 raindrops on the window, and so on. One day, he meets Lea, a dark-skinned classmate who sits next to him drawing. Later, upset by his inability to count all the daisies he sees outside (the loud playground noises overwhelm him), Leo takes off across grassy fields to a peaceful glade, where he finds Lea and excitedly discovers that she’s drawn 21 leaves and 13 flowers. “I love / patterns / Want to / see more?” she asks. As Wesolowska explains in her author’s note, these numbers—echoed in the changing number of words on the pages of her narrative—represent the Fibonacci sequence: a progression of sums beginning 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 that mathematically generate what is known as the golden ratio and also reflect patterns of leaves, flower petals, and other features often found in nature. Aside from framing a warm portrayal of a friendship sparked by an unexpected connection, the plot and the device don’t seem to have all that much to do with each other, but the two don’t get in each other’s way, either. For clearer and more direct views of the sequence and its inventor, steer younger readers to Sarah C. Campbell’s Growing Patterns (2010), with photographs by Richard P. Campbell, or Joseph D’Agnese’s Blockhead (2010), illustrated by John O’Brien. Leo and Lea’s classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Maybe a little forced, but the mathematical wonder is creatively incorporated. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-30287-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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