a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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A Gebra Named Al (1993)
Wendy Isdell

Contributed by David Allan

In this story, Julie falls asleep on her algebra book after spending a few frustrating minutes trying to finish her homework. An imaginary number comes to visit her in her room, and transports her to the land of Mathematics. There, she befriends a gebra who helps her through some adventures until she is finally able to return. It's the Wizard of Oz + Through the Looking Glass + lots of mathematical wordplay and fun. Ms. Isdell began this book when she was in eighth grade. I believe she is now a college student. She has also written a chemical sequel, The Chemy Called Al.

It's been a little while since I read it, and keeping in mind that it's a first novel, written by a kid:

    For math content, I'll give it a 4.
    For literary quality, I'll also give it a 4.
But, I'd include a note that suggests an audience in grade 6-8 or so, someone with some algebraic concepts under his belt.

By the way, the one review on is mine. You can read how I felt about the book shortly after reading it with my son.

Contributed by Leslie Burklow

There were a lot of scientific terms used that led to a little confusion if the students aren't old enough to understand the Periodic Table, but my gifted students do very well with it.

Contributed by courtney

this book [expletive deleted] its so borrrrring! i have to read it in class and im having trouble gettign past the first couple pages i mean who teh [sic] [expletive deleted] could right [sic] THIS bad... it sounds liek [sic] she was trying to use as many impressive big words as she knew to impress people it didnt run well and u could tell it was written by sum1 in 8th grade. you ask y i dont have a book publsihed? im working on a poetry book that hopefully people will eb [sic] able to at least finish. And i doubt it gets better as i get farther into teh book because nobody ive talked to has sed it was worth the time to read it. Sorry to disappoint u but u ahev NO tallent [sic] wut so ever "

[I assume that last comment was directed at the author of the book? -ak]

Contributed by Lorri

DId I like the book? NO. But my son and his friends ages 9-11 love it. I guess that's what it's all about.

Contributed by ~Lindsey

The first seven chapeters are a really slow read, but chapeters 8 and 9 pick it up a little and helped me complete it!

Contributed by VIolist Numbah One!

this book is okay...i think it cud be a littl better though...

Contributed by Erika

It was a good book! I'm gunna use it 4 my school project.

Contributed by Anonymous

best book ever!!!!!!!!!

Contributed by Anonymous

i really thought that the book was boring. it seemed like a nice children's book, but there was no action and there were many confusing words.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to A Gebra Named Al
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Three Days in Karlikania by Vladimir Levshin
  2. Numberland by George Weinberg
  3. The Number Devil [Der Zahlenteufel] by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  4. Jayden's Rescue by Vladimir Tumanov
  5. Nena's Math Force by Susan Jarema
  6. The Goddess of Small Victories [La déesse des petites victoire] by Yannick Grannec
  7. The Mouse and his Child by Russell Hoban
  8. Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Pendred Noyce
  9. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
  10. Quaternia by Tom Petsinis
Ratings for A Gebra Named Al:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3.69/5 (21 votes)
Literary Quality:
2.8/5 (25 votes)

GenreFantasy, Children's Literature,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)