Written by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Brian Biggs
The third book in the Frank Einstein series is just as silly and just as wonderful as the first two. The names alone make the book worth reading, but the great illustrations also add to the mood. Lots of robots with interesting parts and diagrams of human body systems.
Frank Einstein, kid-genius, is flanked by robots Klink and Klank as he invents a machine to boost brain power for pitcher Janegoodall and the rest of the team, including Watson. Meanwhile, T. Edison and Mr. Chimp hatch an evil plot to foil them
Of course, the science should be taken with a grain of salt and used only as a jumping off place. The science of the plot sort of falls apart with the mind control aspect. And there are a few minor errors in the real science. (The muscles are biceps and triceps. These are singular words.) Kids may be inspired to work with the real science, though. The extras at the end add to the fun. Fourth graders, particularly, will strengthen their literacy skills with this hilarious gem.
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- Title: Frank Einstein and the Brain Turbo
- Author: Jon Scieszka
- Illustrator: Brian Biggs
- Published: Amulet Books/Abrams, August 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
- Grade Level: 3 to 7
- Genre: Fiction, Science
- ISBN: 978-1-4197-1643-0
- Extras: Frank Einstein’s Human-Body Notes, Pitching with Janegoodall, Watson’s Inventor’s Corner, Bob and Mary Einstein’s Travelallovertheplace.com Travel Hot Spot, Klank’s Turing Test (jokes), Mr. Chimp’s Word Search, Mr. Chimp’s Alphabet (American Sign Language)
Written by Joke van Leeuwen
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In this completely offbeat novel, the reader has a chance to learn about all the concerns of refugees. The author is able to give subject a light touch by showing the world through the eyes of a child. Children don’t look at war the same way an adult would.
Toda lives with her father and grandmother on one side of the border. Her mother lives on the other side of the border. As her father prepares to go to war, Toda learns with him about the various ways a soldier can use the landscape as camouflage – thus the title. Her father plans to become a bush and protect himself from the fighting. The fighting closes in on their home, so, for her protection, Toda is sent to live with her mother. But the journey is anything but easy. The bus she’s on makes unexpected stops. People try to adopt her. People helping her get captured. She loses her mother’s street address. But Toda maintains her good humor and realistic view of the world throughout.
The frequent drawings, allegedly by Toda, are whimsical and sometimes reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut. “There was a picture in the book of a soldier who had disguised himself as a bush.” Literacy skills are reinforced by the language barrier created by the border and various other reasons Toda must think about what people really mean. Fourth graders and older readers will cheer for Toda and wish her well.
- TITLE: The Day My Father Became a Bush
- AUTHOR: Joke van Leeuwen
- PUBLISHER: Gecko Press, 2014
- REVIEWER: Sue Poduska
- ISBN: 9781877579486
- FORMAT: Hard cover, 104 pages
- GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, War, Refugees
- USA PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2014