Reviews for Science Fair


Booklist Reviews 2008 December #2
"If there was any doubt that today s authors have acclimated themselves to writing in a post-9/11 world, Barry and Pearson s latest comedy revolves around a group of terrorists intent on attacking America. Fortunately, most of them are just good-natured bumblers, but one of them has an actual plan: use rich middle-school kids (and their grade-obsessed parents) to unwittingly build a super-weapon for the science fair. Eighth-grader Toby is sick of the same kids winning every year, and when he learns about the plot, it s up to him and his friends to stop the cheating--and, while they re at it, save the world. The humor is a mix of chuckle-worthy wordplay and dead-on-arrival groaners; a subplot involving thieves attempting to steal Toby s parents Star Wars memorabilia will generate the loudest laughs. Readers will appreciate the modern details (iPhones, Dance Dance Revolution, and Google all figure into the story), and the theme of overeager parenting will resonate--even through all the zany noise." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
When Hubble Middle School student Toby Harbinger becomes aware of cheating going on before the science fair begins, he tries to expose the culprits. This leads to his involvement in an international terrorist plot. Though the plot is far-fetched, there's plenty of situational and verbal humor that will appeal to reluctant readers and the authors' fans. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 September #1
Eighth-grader Toby Harbinger and his outcast friends would look forward to the science fair if it were a fair competition. However, every year the rich (and obviously brainless) kids submit wonderful projects they had about as much to do with as they did the creation of the Parthenon, and one of them always wins. Toby discovers how they're doing it, but no one will believe him. Suddenly, someone is framing him for cheating. He's suspended, then grounded, then arrested for terrorism. There's more going on at this year's science fair than anyone (except Toby and his friends) knows: Turns out fixing the fair might just save the country! Barry and Pearson, co-authors of numerous Peter Pan-based novels (Cave of the Dark Wind, 2007, etc.), turn their attention to our reality (sort of) with laugh-out-loud results. A wildly unbelievable page-turner that's all the more fun for its over-the-top silliness, this is Carl Hiaasen's Hoot (2002) on suspect mushrooms. The short chapters plus the promise of a sequel will please reluctant readers as well as those seeking laughs, suspense and floating amphibians. (Science fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 March

Gr 5-8--When Grdankl the Strong, president of the small, but extremely unhappy country of Krpshtskan, declares war on the United States, no one is safe. Its agents are en route to Hubble Middle School where an operative has been working for several years to create award-winning science-fair projects for underachieving children and their overinvolved parents. This is the year that the top projects will be designed to work in concert to bring down the United States in one enormous, electromagnetic pulse strike. All that is standing in the way of this diabolical plan are three students, a science store operator, a handful of bumbling FBI agents, and a giant Weinermobile. Barry and Ridley have created a wild story of danger, espionage, stinky cheese, exploding vats of Coca-Cola, and one floating frog. This nonstop, action-packed novel will appeal to every kid who has ever had to do a science-fair project.--Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

[Page 140]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 December
Eighth grader Toby Harbinger finds evidence of cheating at an annual science fair, but no one wants to believe him when he points to the wealthiest students in the school. Instead teachers and administrators decide that Toby is a liar whose goal is to disparage those who always win the contest. Their projects, however, have been purchased from a mystery person and include dangerous and classified information. Through a series of offbeat adventures, Toby learns that the plans are really part of a larger terrorist plot orchestrated by the dictator of fictional Kprshtskan, whose leaders are hapless buffoons with inflated egos and no awareness of their irrelevance on the global stage. Middle readers will enjoy the heroic depiction of a young person who challenges unreasonable adults for what he believes. Plenty of humorous moments will also appeal to younger readers. Older readers, on the other hand, will question the wildly improbable premise. Some may also bristle at the farcical portrayal of Kprshtskan. The ridiculousness of its leaders (and by extension, its citizens) is overworked and ultimately condescending. Even though it is a fictional country, for example, one still feels embarrassed when the President of the United States refers to it as a "dirtbag little nation." Most perplexing, however, is the odd juxtaposition of humor and terrorism. The incorporation of terrorists, even if their motives are ridiculous, injects a stark reality into the story that weakens the plot. This book is best as a secondary purchase.-Christina Fairman 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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