Reviews for Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It
Booklist Reviews 2008 January #1
Mixed-race Brendan Buckley is fascinated by science, and he likes to find the answers to questions that he poses in his notebook. Brendan finds that life isn't alwaus easily explained, however, after he meets his grandfather for the first time at a rock club meeting. Brendan's white grandfather has been estranged from Brendan's mother since her marriage to an African American. Despite Brendan's mixed parentage, he bonds with his grandfather through their shared interest in rock collecting, and they continue to meet secretly until Brendan's mother finds out. It takes time and a serious accident for Brendan's grandfather to come to his senses and reunite with his family. By frequently lightening her tone, Frazier delivers her messages without using an overly heavy hand. Brendan is a real kid with a passion for science and also a willingness to push his parents' rules; he's not just a placard for the author's central message. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 September #2
Ten-year-old Brendan Buckley, future scientist, expects to have a busy summer, between practicing Tai Kwon Do, spending time with his parents and paternal grandmother and writing in the notebook he fills with all of his questions and their answers. Then he runs into his maternal grandfather, Ed, at a rock-and-mineral show. They've never met before, and all Brendan knows is that his mother won't talk about why. Initially unsure, Brendan decides to get to know his grandfather in secret. When they find out, his parents reveal that it is Ed's bigotry concerning mixed-race couples--Brendan's mother is white and his father is black--that has resulted in his absence. No stranger to racism, Brendan attempts to answer the question of why anyone would feel this way, as he simultaneously tries to find a way to bring his family together. Brendan is an appealing character with a sense of honor, and if the ending is a bit pat, Brendan's curiosity and intelligence compensate. A good, accessible selection to inspire discussion of racism and prejudice. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 October
Gr 4-6-- Brendan Buckley is fascinated by rocks and minerals. While at the mall with his grandmother, he comes upon a mineral show and begins talking to an older man who's the president of the local society. Brendan wants to join, but when his grandmother, Gladys, sees them together, she drags him away. It turns out that Ed DeBose is the grandfather he's never met. Ed and Brendan's mom are white; his dad and Gladys are black, and Brendan has grown up as a black boy. No one in his family will talk about the man, especially his mom, who grows furious whenever her father's name is mentioned. So Brendan decides to find Ed and ask him what happened--and to do it without anyone in his family finding out. This is an absorbing look at a 10-year-old boy who has never had to deal with race and prejudice, who collides into years of anger and hurt in his family and must create a new identity for himself. Although the story occasionally veers into sentimentality, Frazier writes affectingly about what being biracial means in 21st-century America.--Walter Minkel, New York Public Library [Page 150]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.