A tale of crazy events in an ordinary school class, all about misfits and peer pressure
One day, the teacher says that, from now on, two plus two is five. Nearly everyone accepts the new maths. And other strange things happen too. Suddenly there’s a zebra in the class; she says her name is Ariane. Ozzie goes to buy a joke to impress Ziva, but can’t find one that he can afford. Noepy takes part in a demonstration against the abolition of crying. Ziva’s family take it in turns to have hiccups.
Gideon Samson, a smooth stylistic master, is known for his incisive and true-to-life books, which cleverly raise sensitive issues and take their young readers seriously. Samson’s readers are mostly teens, but in Zeb. he has written for a younger age group.
Eleven students from one class, all aged around ten, talk about something strange that they have seen or done. Their stories are usually funny or gently philosophical. The characters sometimes just don’t seem to care if things happen that are actually impossible. And why should they?
But these stories are not as innocent as they sound. Maximiliaan lies awake for nights on end, worrying about the new maths. He really doesn’t understand why no one is protesting. Until one day he sees it for himself: two plus two really does make five. This leaves the reader in a state of confusion. Hang on, that’s not right though, is it? Or is it?
So this apparently bright and breezy world can be a little dangerous at times. And it is precisely this element that makes Samson’s work so clever. He seems, just as in his books for older children, to want to say: there’s nothing better than the imagination, but be careful what you dream up, because it might just come true. A book that will give readers plenty to talk about.