“THE SECRET SPIRAL,” by Gillian Neimark, Aladdin, July 26, 2011, $15.99 (ages 8 and up)
Flor has an ordinary life. A life she is more than happy to supplement with the excitement of Dr. Pi’s Sky-High Pie Shop. Not only are his pies good, but Dr. Pi himself can’t help but be interesting. Still, Flor would never guess that she is connected to Dr. Pi and his fantastic mysteries. Only when crazy Mr. Bit and Mr. It appear does Flor have the chance to discover more about herself and prove that she can be the ultimate hero in an unbelievable story that grew right under her nose.
Using math and nature to create an alternate reality full of magic and wonder, Gillian Neimark creates a fanciful world within our own — powered by a Secret Spiral. Readers will enjoy discovering the wonder of spirals in our world, and will be more than happy to take the leap suggested by Neimark in assuming the spirals can be the source of great power. Flor herself is a likeable character, as are her accomplices: Dr. Pi and Mrs. Plump. Mr. Bit and Mr. It — while tricky to tell apart — provide an extra outlet for humor. My daughter loved Mr. Bit’s rhymes, especially since she loves making rhymes just like his.
While I felt the construct of the Spirals and their place in the story could have been created more smoothly, and I would have liked more characters to be children rather than adults, the Secret Spiral was an adventurous mystery that our whole family enjoyed reading together.
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