Saturday, March 10, 2018

Funville Adventures

This has been a long time coming. Funville Adventures by A.O. (Sasha) Fradkin and A.B. Bishop is full of fun adventures.

Sasha is a Twitter acquaintance, an elementary math enrichment teacher with an amazing personal math journey, and I probably heard about the Kickstarter from there. I love to encourage these passion projects in general, but this book is especially delightful. (Sasha on Twitter & her blog.)

As a story, it may remind you in flavor of The Phantom Tollboth or Dragon Tales. Emmy and Leo are kids transported to an allegorical land, Funville. Kids in Funville each have a special ability. The story makes sense and is enjoyable without even knowing the math in a formal way, because the math is the idea behind the people they meet, but not how it's discussed.  These quirky characters are brought to life in quick vignettes and charming illustrations.

Part of the charm is that, since there are mathematical ideas behind the kids of Funville, the way they work and interact is surprising but logical.  Readers can predict what's going to happen or wonder what would happen.
“Yeah,” said Harvey as if it was the most natural thing in the world to have a power. “My power is to halve things in size.” 
“Halve?” inquired Emmy. “But he is no more than a tenth of what he was!” 
“That’s because ...
What do you think happened? Small mysteries like that. Big mysteries, like how will Leo get back to full size? Harvey has a brother Doug - will that relate? And the biggest: how will they get home?

Want to know more? There's a whole Funville Blog Tour, with lots of perspectives. As with a couple of those, you might find yourself wanting to make your own Funville characters. Even now, whom do you think Emmy and Leo might meet?

I have one here... Fan Funville Fiction!

Dylan's Dangling 

Emmy and Leo worked hard all week to get done with school work and chores, so they would have an afternoon free to visit their friends in Funville. They had developed the habit of tucking things into an old rucksack that would be interesting to see just how their friends' powers would work on them. This time the rucksack held a tiny Ant Man action figure, an elephant toy, a stretchable rubber snake, and an assortment of snacks.

Emmy was particularly interested in Fay's and Randy's powers and how they interacted with other powers. So she was always glad to see them at the other end of the slide down the Thief. But she and Leo were both surprised to see someone new in the playground.

He was sitting on one half of a see-saw, but was up in the air instead of down on the ground. Maybe Heather had been here? He had on a shirt that was way too long, but otherwise seemed to fit him well. Adding to his stretched out appearance was a very tall cylinder of curly black hair.

Leo ran over to him immediately. "I'm Leo!" he announced, and the boy answered him. "Oh, I know. I came down here to meet you two because I was so interested in the stories that everyone told about you. People without powers, but you're fun anyway? And Pencilvania? Wherever that is!"

"Pennsylvania," Emmy corrected, "but that's a good synonym! You probably know I'm Emmy, but who are you?"

"Dylan," Dylan answered, "and I'm stuck up here. I was playing with- "

"Heather?" Emmy interrupted.

"Exactly!" said Dylan. "But her mother was calling, and she hopped off, and didn't notice that she made that end so heavy, and ... long story short, here I am."

"How can we help?" asked Leo.

"Do you have anything small enough to stand up under the other end?" wondered Dylan.

"Sure!" said Leo, and rummaged in the rucksack for a perfect skipping stone he was hoping Cory would be willing to use his power on. He slid it under the down side of the see saw. "Like this?"

"Mmmmmm hmmmmm," said Dylan, who was already concentrating. Slowly the see saw seat lifted up, pushed by the stone, which was growing. But not getting like a bigger stone - more like a tree. Once the see saw got level, Dylan hopped off.

"So your power is growing things?" asked Emmy.

"Not exactly..."

1 comment:

  1. I love this.

    (I didn't love Funville as much as you did. But you may have helped me see why. I did not like the Phantom Tollbooth.)