In Book Five of David Horn’s Eudora Space Kid series, third-grader Eudora’s recalculation of pi leads to trouble. And that’s just the start.
Eudora, a math, science and engineering whiz, lives on the spaceship Athena, part of the science and defense force for the Planetary Republic. One day, she decides to change the formula for pi in class. She claims that “all our circles were wrong” and uses an oval to arrive at a new pi formula. Because of Eudora’s reputation, everyone buys it, but then repercussions spread: Cafeteria glasses change to oval, driver’s ed students fail trying to navigate oval-wheeled AstroBuggys and a roller-skating party is ruined because the skates won’t work.
Everyone is angry with Eudora, though circles eventually are restored.
A few days later, she and her loyal friend Arnold, who follows all rules until Eudora talks him into another crazy scheme, watch the ship’s forecaster report the onboard weather, triggering a eureka moment for Eudora: She tells Arnold that she will adjust the weather report to include a snowstorm, giving the kids a snow day so they “will love me again.”
Unfortunately, Eudora makes a rare miscalculation: The forecasts call for deeper and deeper snow. Snow shovels sell out. Eudora worries that the catastrophe will make people fear for their lives. This time, her technological handiwork lands her in the brig.
The problem here is that the plot lines have too many holes, even for a children’s book. Despite a jocular disclaimer in the prologue acknowledging that it’s impossible to change the formula for pi and circles still exist, some may be put off by the implausible premises.
Still, readers will delight in Eudora’s kindness, kooky sense of humor and secret schemes. All the characters are wonderfully original and well-developed, and Horn’s dialogue is pitch-perfect for kids. Judit Tondora’s hysterical illustrations bring the fun up a notch.
Also available in paperback.