Genius Julian is psyched to start a new school. He has a plan called “Operation Act Odinary” to finally be someone other than the smart nerd. On the first day of school he resists raising his hand and exclaims, “Only geeks like chess. I hate chess!” On the second day he can hardly stand it and eventually blurts out a complicated physics answer and immediately earns the nicknames “Einstein” and “Brainiac.” He’s the smart kid again and he’s really bummed!
What Julian doesn’t know is that there are kindred spirits in his school…and they’ve been watching him. Watching and waiting. And then they make contact by encoded message, a message only a fellow genius would figure out. Classmates Ben and Greta show up at the rendevous and induct Julian into their covert club, The Secret Science Alliance. They even have a top secret hideout full of high tech toys and gadgets and all kind of parts to invent things with. Look inside their hideout – a smart kid dream come true!
The kids start to meet up everyday after school and on weekends to work on their projects: the stink-o-meter, nightsneak goggles and a hovercraft, just to name a few. When a rival scientist steals their book of ideas and is sure to use it for his evil plans, it takes all of their genius and gadgets to bring him to justice. Author: Eleanor Davis Award: Booklist Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth 2010.
This book is full of colorful, busy, interesting illustrations – it’s a graphic novel so every page is illustrated. There are diagrams of inventions and cutaways so you can see inside things.
A lot of the pictures look like Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist famous for drawing funny, complicated machines that do very simple things…like sharpen a pencil or put toothpaste on a toothbrush. At Rube’s Official Website you can look at a gallery of his drawings. These drawings were inspirations for some of what you see in The Secret Science Alliance. There are lots and lots of details in each picture and the diagrams contain many steps and lots of labels. Purdue has a famous contest each year named after Rube Goldberg. During the contest, students try to build the most complicated machine to perform a simple task. The task for the 2010 contest is…dispensing hand sanitizeer…or course!
My name is Fin Garrett and this is my book and this is my story.
There will be some silliness, lots of my sucky drawings, a pop quiz and fun homework assignments, three or four family photos, and a few of my favorite memories. Caution: Sometime the story will get a little sad. But it won’t always be sad.
I began disappearing this past June, right after what I call The Terrible Day That Changed Everything…
Fin writes his story a lot like Greg in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He draws a lot of pictures and he tries really hard to explain what is happening in his life and how he feels about it. At first, you wonder if this is a superhero story. Maybe Fin really IS turning invisible, but then you get to the part about the terrible day that changed everything and the book becomes something much different. Fin is right, his story does get a little sad, but the best thing about Fin’s story is how you watch him live through the sad thing and then start to figure out how to live with the sad thing having happened.
I don’t know how to say anything else unless I tell you what the sad thing is, but I don’t want to give it away. Just understand that this book might LOOK like one of Greg’s Wimpy Kid diaries but it has a more emotional punch to it. It has really funny parts. I think you will like Fin and he’ll make you laugh. He’ll also probably make you cry a little bit too. Isn’t that just like a good friend in real life?
I loved this book because the terrible thing that changed everything in Fin’s life also happened to me, and the way he describes his feelings are so like how I felt. Fin seemed real to me and I believed the words in his journal. Listening to Fin is like listening to a close friend tell you his story. And in the end, Fin’s right, his story isn’t always sad. It’s good to know that people can and do live through sad things. They learn to be happy and laugh again. Author: Evan Kuhlman
Like I said, this book is a lot like the Wimp Kid Diaries, so if there is anybody left out there who hasn’t read about Greg – get to it! Umbrealla Summer and The Girl Who Threw Butterflies are about kids like Fin who have had to adjust to a major change. These two books might make you cry a little bit too, but both will leave you feeling good in the end.
Reynie, Sticky, Constance and Kate are locked in, in fact they’re prisoners, but this time their captor is none other than Mr. Benedict himself, as well as Rhonda and Number Two. In order to keep the kids safe from Evil Ledroptha Curtain, the grownups have the kids stashed in a safe house. Ledroptha wants his evil Whisperer machine back and the grownups are sure that he would kidnap the kids in a second and hold them for ransom. The kids are safe…but bored out of their genius little minds!
Constance is extra cranky, especially after a stranger shows up claiming to be her father and challenging Mr. Benedict’s adoption of her. In an emotional meltdown, Constance runs away – an act that sends the grown-ups and the Society outside the safe house in hopes of finding her…just what Ledroptha and his minions The Ten Men want. The kids are now vulnerable and fall into a carefully constructed trap. But Ledroptha isn’t the only brain capable of setting and springing a trap. These kids are smart and motivated by something powerful – the desire to save the family they’ve built for themselves in The Mysterious Benedict Society. A terrific addition to The Society’s adventures. Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Look InsideThe Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Wilson David the fifth, or “Wil,” for short, is about to turn 12 years old. He can’t wait for his birthday because it signals the day he can take over his older brother’s paper route. The David boys have delivered The Cooper County Caller newspaper to the people in tiny Steele, Pennsylvania for as long as anyone can remember. The first David boy to deliver the route was Wil’s Grandfather.
Wil has been practicing and is more than ready to take over. He can fling newspapers as he rides his bike past houses. He can fling them so that they land squarely on people’s porches, right by the door, but not blocking the door – perfect. Wil’s also ready for some spending money of his own and has his eye on a laptop computer.
Wil’s dreams are brought to a screeching halt the day before his birthday when the newspaper calls and tells him that they have cancelled home delivery in Steele and no longer need a paperboy. Wil is devastated. That laptop vanishes before his very eyes, but what’s more, he doesn’t get the chance to do what all of the David boys have done for three generations…deliver the daily newspaper.
The more Wil thinks about it the more unfair it seems. His laptop dreams start to fade as he considers the fact that the people in his town will no longer be able to read the daily news or even look for jobs in the classified ads. Steele is so small, there is no cable TV. The newspaper is the only way most of the people in the town get any news.
Find out why the people in Steele call Wil “Wil of Steele”. What can one boy do to fight injustice? The Cooper County Caller is about to find out. One boy rallying one tiny town – it’s the little guys against the big corporation.
Nic Bishop is on a roll cranking out animal books with stunning pictures and interesting information. Spiders, Frogs, Butterflies and now, Marsupials. Nic’s motto seems to be, “have camera, will travel.” This time he heads to Australia where the world’s largest concentration of marsupials live.
Mammals are warm-blooded animals that have fur and raise their babies on milk. Mammals are dogs, cats, cows, bears, etc. Marsupials are a special kind of mammal whose mothers raise their babies inside a furry pouch. The most well-known marsupials are probably kangaroos. But there are lots of marsupials – opossums, koalas, wombats…and bettons, bilbies, potoroos & dibblers. I’ve never even heard of those, have you? This book will give you an up close look at these furry little pouched creatures. Some of them look made up – like someone took parts of different animals and stuck them together.
One of the marsupials is a tasmanian devil – like Taz on Looney Toons. The real tasmanian devils don’t really look like Taz, they look like cute mini black bears. Their behavior, though, is more like Taz. They get really excited when they eat and like to fight over food, their favorite being animals that have been dead for so long they smell bad. Yuck! They also have really, really strong jaws that can crunch through bones. When I think about those habits, then I can picture crazy, slobbery Taz and see where he got his name.