Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith


I recommend this book for: grade 5-8

Looking for a slightly quirky book about smart middleschoolers conquering all? Look no farther! Narrators Elias, Honoria, and Shohei all attend the prestigious Peshtigo School in Chicago (read: a fancy private school where the kids are geniuses and the parents are loaded.) All three are entering the science fair - Honoria because she cares about science and she wants to submit a real project that will beat the pants off of suck-up Goliath Reed's comparison of different brands of toothpaste, while Eli is forced into it by his scientist/musician father (who incidentally named all of his sons Johann - Elias is a middle name), and Shohei piggybacks on Eli's project. There are other things at play here as well, such as Honoria's crush on Shohei and Eli's on her. Then there are Shohei's struggles against his adoptive parents, who want him to embrace his Japanese heritage and force him to do so by redecorating his room with tatami mats and packing him sushi for lunch every day. The main crisis comes when Eli receives a bad grade on his project for not getting the results the chemistry teacher has come to expect, and he takes some drastic measures to prove that he's right. A good choice for readers looking for funny realistic fiction or something with the slightest hint of, not really romance, but a boy/girl thing.

They like it like piranhas like bananas! and beef hearts.

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