A story by the numbers: Review of 'The Rabbit Problem' by Emily Gravett

Tuesday, January 4, 2011; 7:02 PM


By Emily Gravett

Simon & Schuster. $17.99. Ages 6-9

Until now, the only funny things about Fibonacci numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . . ) has been their name. Enter Emily Gravett, who, with her well-honed funny bone, knows how to turn dull into droll. Arranged in the form of a calendar (complete with a hole so you can hang it ), "The Rabbit Problem" makes use of Fibonacci's original problem (two rabbits in a field multiplying at the rate of two offspring per month) and turns it into an abundantly clever lesson in overpopulation, economics, intergenerational attitudes and more.

In February, a single chilly pair of rabbits attempts to knit a sweater ("k. = knit, p. = purl, uw. = untangle wool, gl. = good luck!"); March finds the proud parents filling out a scrapbook entitled "Bunny's First Month," and celebrating the arrival of Alfalfa and Angora; by May, they're issuing ration books to cope with the carrot shortage; and by September, they're consulting cookbooks for Mock Carrot recipes. October brings slimming exercises as the rabbits all attempt to fit into the field; November brings fence-to-fence fur; and December . . . well, prepare for a surprise when, at the end of the month, the little hoppers chew right through the page, leaving a bare white field of snow. Are they gone? Brace yourself for a bunny bonanza!

- Kristi Jemtegaard

© 2011 The Washington Post Company