Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/storysno/public_html/includes/stsn_db.php on line 8
StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | The Absolute Value of Mike | Kathryn Erskine
[loading book info...]
Quick Find

Childrens book reviews by StorySnoops, judge a book by more than its cover, serving fresh scoops of new books for you every day
browse button
blog button
about us button
FAQ button

Book Detail
Buy from Amazon
Buy from IndieBound

The Absolute Value of Mike
by Kathryn Erskine
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 610L {what is this?}
NO. PAGES: 256
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
ISBN: 0399255052
READ & REVIEWED BY: Shannon - StorySnoop

The Story
The Absolute Value of Mike—Book Review

Fourteen-year-old Mike, whose single father is a brilliant mathematician, unfortunately has no math aptitude himself. When his father travels abroad for work for an entire summer, Mike is sent to stay with his elderly eccentric great Aunt Moo and Uncle Poppy in rural Pennsylvania. Mike is less than thrilled about these plans. However, things are not as dull in Pennsylvania as he may have thought. In fact, he doesn't have a spare minute between trying to keep up with his wacky aunt and her car named Tyrone, getting his catatonic uncle to move, and working with his new friends--a colorful cast of characters--to raise $40,000 to adopt a baby from Romania. Never mind that Mike's father had wanted him to be working on an engineering project all summer - he'll have to deal with his dad later.
The Scoop
The Absolute Value of Mike—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

This is a coming of age story filled with both humor and heart. Ever since Mike's mom died, he has been responsible for taking care of his father, who is a genius math and engineering professor unable to manage day to day life as a typically functioning person would. Mike does everything from paying the bills to making sure he gets himself to school. (Given the background information Moo gives Mike about his father, and that his father shows no emotion, is very literal, and has a handler at work, one could assume that he may have Asperger's Syndrome or is an autistic savant.) Mike's math disability creates a wedge in their relationship, and when Mike is sent away he is expected to work on his math and engineering skills. This theme of parent/child disconnect and Mike's struggle to show his dad who he really is--good at many things but not like his dad at all--will be familiar for many middle school kids. Individuality, empathy, adoption, understanding, and father and son relationships are all themes in this story. Mike is a very good boy and helpful to those around him. He is a natural leader and is always driven to do the right thing, even when it seems impossible. Mike is also a funny narrator, and his description of the characters in the book and the events that happen keep the tone of the book upbeat and, at times, hilarious. Language is mild (a-s and cr-p are said once). Poppy says the word "sex" once when she mistakenly believes that Mike is asking for an explanation of the birds and the bees. This would be a great choice for both girls and boys, especially the reluctant boy reader.
Post Your Own Review

{be the first to share your thoughts about this book}
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates
Follow and Share
Twitter Icon
Facebook Icon
Pinterest Icon
RSS Icon

Check It Out
Help us make the best it can be! If you've read one of the books on our site, let us know what you thought. Become a registered user and leave your review too.  {START HERE}