All of the AboveTitle: All of the Above
Author: Shelley Pearsall
ISBN: 9780316115261
Pages: 234 pages
Publisher/Date: Little, Brown, and Company, c2006.

“Starting on Monday, here’s the contest we are going to have,” Collins says to the class.
I don’t even listen. Who cares about some dumb math contest?
“We are going to have a contest ot bild one of these.” Collins smacks his palm on the chalkboard pyramid and chalk dust flies up in the air. “A tetrahedron. Nobody has ever made one larger than six levels before. That’s the record. So, our school is going to build a bigger one.” Collins looks around the classroom like he is expecting us to be excited about his crazy idea. “So what do you think? Who wants to give this a try?” (12)

Four inner-city seventh grade students in Cleveland, Ohio are encouraged by their fruastrated math teacher to build the world’s largest tetrahedron. A tetrahedron is a triangular pyramid made completely of triangles. It’s surprising who originally appears, and their reasons for continuing the project. However, disaster strikes, and the students are left wondering if they are really dedicated enough to finish the project.

The fact that’s it based on a true story, Shelley Pearsall’s All of the Above is definitely a one of a kind story. Who would have thought that a story about pyramids (excuse me, tetrahedrons) would be so interesting and engaging. The characters are dynamic and original, and I think most readers will find someone to relate to, even though none of the characters have what is considered a “normal” family (mother, father, and 2.5 kids). Sharice is a neglected foster child, Rhondell lives with her mother with help from her aunt, Maurice works with his Vietnam vetran father, and James Harris III lives with his older brother and uncle. But connections are made amazingly enough, and even the characters remark on how the experience has changed everyone by the end. I especially appreciate the template in the back, that can be copied if readers want to see how difficult it is actually to make a tetrahedron. However, more information on the actual record breaking attempt would have been appreciated, but since the school is now closed, it’s understandable if that information is hard to come by.

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