Synopses & Reviews
Ella has two major phobias in life: spiders and mathematics. She firmly believes that anything with more than four legs should not exist. She also believes the world would be a better place without word problems or long division. That being said, shes fascinated by science. So when her class finds a dead opossum in the playing field one morning, shes intrigued by rigor mortis and how long it will take for the opossum to unstiffen. Science is so
much more interesting than math.
Later that day, Ella is certain she must have heard wrong when her teacher announces that there will be no more math tests for the rest of the year. And she isnt wrongit is too good to be true. Her teacher explains that instead, the class will be having its first ever math fair. Ellas group is assigned the topic of time conversions, something Ellas been struggling with for a while. This is hardly Ellas idea of fun. But Ellas mom is quick to point out that math and science arent so very differentshe suggests that Ella imagine shes doing a science experiment instead of a math project. With a little imagination and some inspiration from their friend the opossum (now named Morty, short for rigor mortis), Ella and her group come up with a project that gets them excited about mathand they might even have a chance to win at the fair!
Math teacher and picture book author Souder (Whole y Cow! Fractions Are Fun) upends neatnik Ella's numerophobia and assumptions about adults in this wholesome novel. Morty a dead opossum that manages to catch a kickball thanks to the wonders of rigor mortis and Wacky Willa Ella's favorite aunt who arrives to share Ella's room for several weeks propel radical changes in this fifth grader's life. Supported by friends Jolina and Lucille newcomer Jonathan her parents and some remarkably understanding teachers Ella not only survives Willa's dog's tendency to swallow or throw up on everything important to her but also the last minute destruction of an important math project with a summer free from tutoring hanging in the balance. Willa may not be the roommate Ella hoped for but her loving encouragement and advice lend her a special role in her niece's life. Ella's narration doesn't always sound like that of a kid (and clichéd interjections from her French classmate Jean Pierre are even less so) but readers should still find her adventures appealing and entertaining. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sally Apokedak Leslie H. Stobbe Agency. (Nov.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Math fans and math phobes alike will gobble this one up. Math has never been more tasty, as Souders delivers a story as delicious as a Banana-Coco-Choco-Loco ice cream treat." Claudia Mills, author of 7 x 9 = Trouble!
and Annika Riz, Math Whiz
"Ella is kind, charming, and believably flawed. Souders has created a pitch-perfect story for reluctant readersand reluctant math students.” Courtney Sheinmel, author of the Stella Batts series
"The next time I hear someone say, 'Math has nothing to do with real life' I am going to tell them to read Dead Possums Are Fair Game. In this hysterically funny, fast-moving, and often poignant novel, Souders has a great time showing us that perfection isnt always necessary and that sometimes we cant control our circumstances but we can always control our reactions, even when math is involved. So, what does a dead opossum, a math phobic, a quirky aunt and a cast of lovable friends add up to? A great story told with heart. And as a self-admitted non-math person I have to say that Souders made math fun for me. Bravo." Joyce Magnin, author of Cake: Love, Chickens, and a Taste of Peculiar and Carrying Mason
The world would be a better place without math or messy roommates. At least, thats what Ella Hunter believes. Life is about keeping order and avoiding long division, fractions, or really anything with an equal sign.
As the end of the school year approaches, the fifth-grade teachers at Victor Waldo Elementary conclude theres not enough time to complete a new math unit before summer break. Great news for math-phobic Ella, right?
Wrong! The teachers decide instead to have their students host the first-ever Math Fair. And the fair project is worth two major math grades.
Add in one dead possum plus two horrible roommates who come to stay while their house is being renovated, and you have an equation for disaster. Ella is headed for summer school and math tutoring for sure. Can she stop her troubles from multiplying before its too late?
About the Author
has a background in math education and is passionate about keeping math fun for kids. She is the author of Whole-y Cow!: Fractions Are Fun