Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin ***

I'm going to attempt to read all the Mark Twain Award nominees again this year, & this is my first one! 
If you like solving all kinds of puzzles, then this may be the book for you.  Eric Berlin does a good job of injecting math, word, geometry, & other kinds of puzzles into this fairly entertaining book.
Winston Breen is a puzzle sleuth, so when he helps the principal of his junior high solve a puzzle they find out that there is going to be a puzzle-solving competition, & of course Winston will be on the team from his school.  The team of three students & one teacher must solve 6 different puzzles in order to win the prize:  $50,000 for their school.  But they're up against some of the best puzzle pros in the area.  Can they win?  And which team is cheating?
There was a lot of excitement in this book as the teams raced to solve the puzzles, but I was confused by the difficulty of some of them.  Some were so hard to me that it seemed like I'd never have solved them on my own (lucky for me the answers are in the back of the book!).  Yet I was surprised that the final puzzle wasn't as hard as I expected.  Also I thought there would be more of a twist in the story at the end, so I was mildly disappointed when I reached the end of the book. 
Overall, though, I think it's a great book for the puzzle-minded kid aged 8-14.

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