Contributed by
"William E. Emba"
Allen's book is a collection of three shortshort stories spread
out over book length with illustrations on every page, in the usual
style of children's literature, complete with charmingly simple morals
about what's really important in life. The target audience seems to
be aging yuppies. The main attraction is certainly the illustrations by her husband, famed cartoonist
Jules Feiffer. Indeed, the book classifies itself as a
"Graphic Novel", and I personally discovered this book in a comic
book store, next to their Asterix and Tintin books. But because of
the extreme brevity of the stories, the three stories read more like
HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY with a plot than a genuine graphic novel.
The mathematical content is limited to the first story, "The Long
Chalkboard", about an apartment with one spacious room that one tenant
fills with a long chalkboard in order to encourage the creativity of
her children. That doesn't happen, but the next tenant's teenage son
is a mathematical whiz, who puts the chalkboard to glorious use. And
as a bonus, Feiffer illustrated the chalkboard with real mathematical
formulas instead of the usual silly jumble of letters and digits and
plus signs that are typically passed off as mathematical genius at work.
