(Note: The following is from the most recent edition of my monthly email newsletter, Bartography Express, which you can sign up for from the big yellow box on my home page.)
The first thing you need to know about the titular Fibs in Greg Pincus’ The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. is that while they’ve got a little bit to do with misleading statements, they’ve got lots to do with mathematics and poetry and pie.
You see, several years ago — after I’d already gotten to know Greg at the 2003 conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and through his blog, Gotta Book — he invented the Fib, a form of poetry based on the mathematical Fibonacci sequence. That’s all. No big deal (unless you consider getting written up in The New York Times a big deal). He just invented an entire form of poetry:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.
One Fib led to another, and a few Fibs later, Greg’s creation has yielded a middle-grade novel published by Arthur A. Levine Books. One Bartography Express reader will win a copy of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. — if you’d like it to be you, just reply to this email, and I’ll enter you in the drawing. [Note: The drawing’s now closed, but there’ll be another one each month.] But first, let’s chat a little with Greg about his book.
CB: What made you want to write The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.?
GP: Tricky question, actually, as this book came about rather non-traditionally. In fact, there was no manuscript when I got a contract — just a title, the idea of a kid who writes Fibonacci poetry and tells fibs, and a tone. So, I guess you could say “a contract made me want to write it.” Still, the theme in The 14 Fibs — a kid in a family where what he loves isn’t, he thinks, appreciated or recognized as “valid” by everyone around him — is what I really wanted to explore when I finally sat down to write the book. Well, that and pie. I do love to explore pie.
CB: Tell me about the kind of kid you think 14 Fibs will appeal to the most.
GP: I suspect that any kid who’s felt pressure to do something they don’t love or understand or felt the need to pretend to be someone who they don’t think they are will find 14 Fibs quite appealing. At the same time, I think the book will appeal to any kid who has struggled with a subject in school — math or otherwise — because they just don’t “get” it. I guess, then, if there are kids out there who fit both those descriptions… that’s who I imagine 14 Fibs will likely appeal most to. That said, all I can really say for sure is that I wrote the book because it was the story I wanted to tell. I simply hope it finds an audience that appreciates it… and who that is, well, that’s up to the readers, not me!