A nice coincidence, this. I knew (I think) what Fibonacci numbers were – they’re numbers in a sequence that begins with two positive integers and in which subsequent numbers are the sum of the proceeding two (like 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…). On reading *The Man Who Loved Only Numbers* this morning, I learned that Fibonacci numbers were first investigated by Francois Édouard Anatole Lucas (1842-1891) around 600 years after the death of Leonardo Fibonacci (about 1170 – 1240, or thereabouts) – and that the origin of the sequence is to be found in the following silly puzzle (set by Fibonacci).

A certain man put a pair of rabbits in a place surrounded by a wall. How many pairs of rabbits can be produced from that pair in a year if it is supposed that every month each pair begets a new pair which from the second month on becomes productive?

The answer – of course! – is 377. The tirelessly multiplying rabbits number first 1 pair, then 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, and 377 pairs. This was the prototype Fibonacci sequence.

I was delighted, later today, to come across a gallery of work by the children’s writer and illustrator Emily Gravett. This led me to Gravett’s book *The Rabbit Problem:*

How does 1+1 = 288? A family of rabbits soon provides the answer! Hop along to Fibonacci Field and follow Lonely and Chalk Rabbit through a calendar year as they tackle a variety of seasonal challenges and cope with their fast expanding brood.

This is a book that I think ought to be issued to all children at birth, or at least on the occasion of their first pair of glasses (I don’t wear glasses, and never have, which I suspect explains why I’m not all that good at maths). Here are Ms Gravett’s mathematically correct rabbits.

And here’s a link to the lovely books blog *Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast*, from which I filched this picture.

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