Ellen Klages. A Practical Girl. (Eclipse Three, ed Jonathan Strahan.)

A young girl in the 1950s with a knack for maths is pleased to find out from a visiting professor that numbers can have practical uses, and that they can even be magical. It seems that there is a connection to the boy in the house next door, and an oath made by their respectives fathers in their youth gives her an idea about helping her neighbour. The large pet turtle offers a chance to save him from the local school for intellectually challenged, but whilst the magic of math works, it does so with dramatic affect. It’s a gentle story, capturing the hot summer days and restricted life of a young girl whose father was lost in the war, a nice complement to the contemorary setting and the more challenging young woman in the opening story in the volume.

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