last to finish: a story about the smartest boy in math class (the adventures of everyday geniuses)

Max Leonhard is a third grader at Perryville Elementary School. He used to love school ... but problems in math have changed his mind. Max knows the answers because he practices at home. But as soon as Mrs. Topel starts the timer, Max's brain freezes. He understands multiplication, but he can't remember the answers and he never finishes before the timer dings. When Max and his parents are called into the principal's office, Max expects the worst. But what he learns is that some people understand information but aren't good at memorizing it.
Educational Themes:
This is a great book to share one-on-one or in a small group setting. There are several layers to the book that you can explore, and role-playing would be a great way to reinforce the lessons. Ask readers what they think their talents are; ask them to think about a problem and see if they can look at it a different way (like Max and his algebra ability).
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 to 9
Age of child:
Read with a nearly 8-year-old girl.
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow or buy. This could go either way. If you have a young child who struggles with memorization and/or testing, this could comfort him/her. The ending may not be relevant, but they will find a kindred spirit in Max.
Little Kid Reaction:
My daughter has wanted to read this book ever since we read Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets. She found some of the illustrations funny (like Max's thinking cap) and could relate to his fears about being timed for tests.
Big Kid Reaction:
The entire Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series is great. These are school-based stories that kids can relate to and they can open great conversations with our kids. Max's story could be an eye-opener for parents and help them engage in smart conversations with teachers and school administrators.

Kids will see themselves in these stories about the trials and tribulations of elementary school.


There is a bully element in the story, when a classmate teases Max. Although the ending, overall, is positive, that piece is left hanging. It is not central to the story, but my daughter asked "what about David Peterson?"

Title Last To Finish: A Story About The Smartest Boy In Math Class

The Adventures Of Everyday Geniuses

Author Barbara Esham
Publisher Mainstream Connections Publishing © 2008
Illustrators Mike Gordon, Carl Gordon
ISBN 9781603364560
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Picture Book, School, Learning Disabilities
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