Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

Davis, Eleanor. 2010. THE SECRET SCIENCE ALLIANCE AND THE COPYCAT CROOK. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781599903965 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]

When eleven year old Jason Calendar transfers to a new junior high, he hopes that he can change from being a nerd into being “cool,” until he meets Greta and Ben, two science nerds like himself. The three form the “Secret Science Alliance” and draw blueprints for their new inventions such as a Stinkometer, a Kablovsky Copter, and glue bombs. But when the evil Dr. Stringer steals the blueprints in their Invention Notebook and takes credit for the inventions, the three must fight to get them back. They also discover Dr. Stringer’s plot to rob the local museum and decide they must stop him.

This graphic novel is fun and funny and it is great to see the nerds become the heroes and defeat the villainous Dr. Stringer. The book also deals well with the problem of being the “new kid” at school and trying to fit in and find friends.

Use this novel to introduce students to an “invention convention.” Pair with biographies of inventors such as Thomas Edison.
Share this book with Gifted and Talented students who sometimes have a rough time fitting in with their peers. This would be a good introduction to discussions about friendship and being yourself.
Pair with the older Danny Dunn books by Jay Williams to compare and contrast various types of inventions.

Other books about characters creating homework—and other—machines:
Gutman, Dan. THE HOMEWORK MACHINE. ISBN 9780689876790
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. INCREDIBLE INVENTIONS. ISBN 9780060872458

By Janet Hilbun

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