How do I love this book? Let me count the ways:
1. It’s by Wendy Mass. Anything written by her is basically an automatic purchase by me. I have not read everything she has written, but have enjoyed everything I have read. Plus, her books don’t sit on the shelf much. The kids like them and tell their friends to read them. Ms. Mass is a writer who never condescends to her readers. Her characters are fully fleshed, flawed individuals whom the reader tends to come to love. Each one of her books is unique – even the series books.
2. It has an endearing narrator named Joss, who is supposed to be around twelve but, since time is relative in the Realms and the inhabitants are immortal, he has been stuck in his tween years for… um, a long time. His opening lines are, “If you think it’s tough being the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, try being his son.
Or, more precisely, his seventh son.” He’s definitely got an identity crisis. Since his older brothers have taken all the cool jobs, Joss is stuck delivering pies. Yes, pies. Pies are the glue that holds the universe together. Besides, as Joss asks, “Who doesn’t like pies?”
3. There are twenty-six chapters in this book and each begins with a quote by a famous scientist/ physicist/ astronomer. The quotes are not only deep and profound in their own right, but relate somehow to the action or theme of the chapter. Totally ingenious. I had heard of most of the scientists and one or two of the quotes, but there are at least three quotes I want to print out as signs and post around my library.
4. There’s real science embedded in an engaging, suspenseful, yet humorous story. It would make a great read aloud. And why shouldn’t the science teacher do that? If the science teacher can’t/ won’t find the time, the language arts teacher should read it aloud during the space unit. This book can be read on many levels so if your school is all about differentiated instruction, Pi in the Sky is just the ticket. Not only is it deep, deep, deep thematically, with lots of Big Ideas to wrestle with, but also it’s got action and humor that less adept readers will appreciate.
5. The Realms may be a figment of Ms. Mass’ imagination but it’s vividly real and totally possible to the reader. And even though Joss can grow wheels instead of legs when he needs to get someplace quickly, he’s very human in his capacity to care as well in his insecurities. I must say I got verklempt near the end when I realized certain inevitabilities.
So this is my new favorite book for 2013. I favorited two others on Goodreads so far, but gave them four stars. I save the five star assignations for truly outstanding books. Pi in the Sky is out of this world.
Recommended by: Brenda Kahn, Librarian, New Jersey USA
See more of her recommendations at: http://proseandkahn.blogspot.com/
Joss is the billions-year-old seventh son and sixth smartest son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. Since there is really no reality of time in Joss’s universe he lives as a 13 year-old and will be that age for a long period of time.
Being the seventh son Joss’s older brothers have taken all the good jobs and all Joss gets to do is deliver pies. But what Joss doesn’t know is that those pies hold the secrets of the universe and are delivered to new and upcoming star systems that are forming.
When Annika from Earth looks through her father’s new telescope one evening and accidently spots a pie baker in the realms, Earth is ripped from “the space-time continuum.”
Not soon after the rip Joss is summoned to his dad’s office at the PTB (Powers to Be) headquarters and Kal his best friend tags along. One minute Kal is there and the next he is gone. It turns out that Kal’s parents were on Earth when it was ripped which affects not only their lives but Kal’s also. Then out of nowhere Annika from Earth appears.
As Joss acquires more information he and Annika labor to rebuild the Earth’s solar system which will hopefully bring back Kal and his parents and allow Annika to go back home to Earth.
Recommended by: Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho USA
If you think it’s tough being the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, try being his son.
Joss, the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, delivers pies. That’s right, pies. His older brothers create things out of the cosmos, but Joss delivers pies. Until one day, a human accidently sees Joss’ ever-changing home, The Realms, and his planet, Earth, is wiped out of existence. Somehow, that human, Annika, winds up in The Realms, which she thinks is all part of some odd dream she is having. Joss must team up with Annika to recreate earth in order to return her to her planet and save his best friend’s parents from their exile. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote from a famous astronomer or scientist. This story moves along as the reader roots for Joss and Annika to save the day. 237 pages