Tag Archives: science

Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World

Title: Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World (right now only available as e book or from other libraries)
Author: Bill Nye and Gregory Mone
Series: Jack and the Geniuses
Recommended for: 3rd grade and up
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  Jack and the Geniuses

Synopsis:  In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for 1twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

When the kids try to spy on Dr. Hank Witherspoon, one of the world’s leading scientists, they end up working for him in his incredible laboratory. Soon, Hank and the kids travel to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, but they find that all is not as it seems: A fellow scientist has gone missing, and so has any trace of her research. Could someone be trying to use her findings to win the contest? It’s up to Jack, Ava, and Matt to find the missing scientist and discover who’s behind it all—before it’s too late.

This was pretty much what I would expect from a book influenced by Bill Nye:  A  fast paced story with lots of science facts thrown in.  Sometimes I get tired of all of the ‘stem’ based books that are coming out but I found this one to be entertaining and fun.  I liked the fact that Jack turns out to be a very important member of this trio even though he isn’t a genius.  He’s the one with the practical knowledge and street smarts that get his adopted siblings out of trouble.


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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Adventure, Mysteries


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Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

30653691Title: Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere
Author: Elise Gravel
Series: N/A (Although, I hope it ends up being one)
Recommended for: Grades 3 -5
Pages: 176
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Gravel, E

Synopsis: When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science—learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!

Review: This is going to be a great one for those Wimpy Kid/Dork Diary fans! I love that Olga is science-y. She loves all things animals and when she find an unknown species she tries to figure out what he is! Olga is a tween/early teen but she reads a bit younger. 6th/7th MAY like it but I think it’ll be better in the hands of 4th/5th graders. The only thing I don’t like at all is that the mean girls read a fashion magazine called TWERP GIRLS. That name is The mean girls do show they’re not all that mean and Olga does kind of want to read the magazine, but the name TWERP GIRLS just bothered me. Other than that, I found this one an extremely fun and funny read and think it’ll be a big hit with our patrons. (FYI, it doesn’t come out until end of March!)

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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Funny, Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized


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Cover of the book Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff


Title:  Mesmerized : how Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of France
Author:  Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Iacapo Bruno
Recommended for: Grade 3-6
Pages: 24
Call Number/Link:  E ROCKLIFF, M.

Synopsis: Discover how Benjamin Franklin’s scientific method challenged a certain Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious powers in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.

Review: Mesmerized is one of those rare non-fiction picture books that is colorful yet substantive.  This is no forgettable picture book, I would be surprised if it did not pick up at least a Caldecott Medal or Honor. Mara Rockliff tells the story of how Benjamin Franklin disproved the work of Franz Mesmer.

1784 a French Royal Commission, which included Benjamin Franklin, was set to investigate the methods of Franz Mesmer.  Mesmer was acting as a doctor in Paris. Mesmer claimed he was curing aliments via the power of “animal magnetism,” a natural energetic transference of fluidic energy using physical touch and iron rods. While the commission agreed that some of the cures claimed by Mesmer had an effect on patients; they also concluded there was no evidence of the existence of his magnetic fluid, and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or through charlatanry.

In discussing the Scientific Method, as it related to how Franklin and the other members of the commission debunked Mesmer, this is an excellent instructional text.  It also manages to highlight the topic of the Placebo effect.  Wonderfully detailed end notes complete the book and make it an excellent text for classroom or home school use.

While beautifully illustrated by Iacopo Bruno, Mara Rockliff’s story is complex enough that I would not recommend it for younger readers; but it finds its place in a classroom or for grades 3-6.


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The Fourteenth Goldfish

Fourteenth Goldfish book jacket

Title:   The Fourteenth Goldfish
Author:   Jennifer Holm
Series:   —
Recommended for:   Grades 3-6
Pages:  195 pages
Call Number/Link:   J Fiction Holm, J. 

Synopsis:   Ellie’s scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager–which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.

Rating:  ****



I liked The Fourteenth Goldfish and think kids will too.  One day Ellie’s mom comes home with a long-haired 13-year-old kid, who turns out to be Ellie’s grandfather.  He’s discovered a scientific way to reverse aging.  Like any other responsible scientist, he tested it on himself.  (Just like the scientist who turned into a lizard creature in “The Amazing Spider-man.”)
Ellie enjoys having her new “distant cousin” in the house, but her mother is less thrilled since her critical father keeps making negative comments about her wardrobe and life choices.  You can think of this book as science fiction because the grandfather has invented a (thankfully nonexistent) scientific process to reverse aging and actually grows younger.  Despite this element, the book also feels like realistic fiction as it explores family dynamics and life in middle school.
There has been a lot of buzz about The Fourteenth Goldfish.  It’s been a popular choice on “Best of 2014” and “Mock Newbery” lists.  The author Jennifer Holm managed to write about science, ethical dilemmas and family dynamics in a light, sometimes humorous way.
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Juv, Realistic


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