The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman review

This week I did not have time or get my own copy of The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. I did however read it a few years ago and can recall some details from it.

What would life be like if you had a computer to do your homework? Well for some fifth graders they are about to find out. They are members of the ‘D’ Squad sitting in groups of four, their last names all ended in D. They are Brenton Damagathi, the geek and maybe super genius, Sam Dawkins aka Snikwad the class clown, Kelsey Donnelly is a slacker doing just enough to get by and Judy Douglas is the teacher’s pet and almost straight ‘A’ student. Their teacher in the fifth grade was Miss Rasmussen, first year out of teaching college and a little green. It all starts when Brenton boasts he does not need to do homework because he has a machine that will do it for him. That evening the D Squad heads to his house and soon the homework is all being done by the computer which has been christened Belch; but as these four children soon realize, trying to keep a secret starts taking more work, time, effort and stress than if they did not have a secret and just went back to doing their own homework. But hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes.

The story is told in a series of first person narratives, being recorded for the most part while at the police station giving their testimony of what has gone on over the past school year. Written from the perspective of the D Squad, their teachers, parents and some of their classmates, it makes for a wonderfully funny story with more than a little message for the readers to absorb. Dan Gutman has written over 100 books; of the few that I have read this is the best! A great story and bound to be enjoyed by readers of all ages

Here’s what i can remember from the book:

The whole book is told by all the children and their parents. OPne of the hildren, the one who vuilt the machine did not want to share the machine. He told no one about it but he was forced to in the end.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Author interview:

READ  who is this???

This week I am reading the Homework Machine (again) by Dan Gutman (the guy in the picture).

When did you decide to be an author?

I was a psychology major in college, and planned to become a psychologist. But after two years of graduate school, I decided that was not for me. So I decided to move to New York and become a starving writer. And that’s what I did. That’s the short version. Anybody who wants the longer version can go to my web site (www.dangutman.com) and click ABOUT DAN.

· What was your first piece published?

When I was in college at Rutgers, I wrote an article that appeared in the school newspaper. I didn’t work on the paper, but I just submitted something and they published it. It was a quiz to help people figure out how cool they were.

· What character is most like you?

None of them! I’m a boring middle aged guy who sits around the house looking at a computer screen most of the day. I like to write about kids who run for president of the United States, kids who get the chance to take one shot and win a million dollars, or kids who find the most valuable baseball card in the world and discover they can use it to travel through time.

· What was the first story you wrote as a child?

I never wrote any stories as a child. I didn’t like to read very much, and it didn’t occur to me to start writing until much later.

· Do you have any advice for anyone writing a book?

Yes, read my new book “My Weird Writing Tips”

· Who is your favorite author?

I have lots–Brian Selznick, Gary Paulsen, Gordon Korman, David Lubar, Mary Roach, Kurt Vonnegut, Hemingway, I could go on.

· What technique do use write (make it up as you go, plan it)?

I’m a planner. I carefully outline my stories on index cards in advance. So before I write the first word, I know how the book is going to begin and end.

· What piece are you working on now?

I am working on three projects right now: The fifth (and final) Genius Files book. The twelfth (and final) baseball card adventure, about Willie Mays. And the next My Weirder School book–“Ms. Lane Is A Pain.”

·What is your favorite book?
By anybody: “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”

By me: “Johnny Hangtime.”

·Did you receive any awards for a book of yours?
Yes. If you go to my web site and click AW SHUCKS, you can see a list of my books that have been nominated or won awards. I hope your readers will also visit my Facebook fan page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @dangutmanbooks

And now: if have not had enough of Dan Gutman Read his funny Bio.

Dan Gutman was born in a log cabin in Illinois and used to write by candlelight with a piece of chalk on a shovel.  Oh, wait a minute.  That was Abraham Lincoln.  Actually, Dan  Gutman grew up in New Jersey and, for some reason, still lives there.

Like a lot of boys, Dan hated to read, but loved sports.  That’s one big reason why he writes mostly about sports and aims his books at reluctant readers like himself.

In 1994, Dan cooked up a middle grade novel about a boy who finds the most valuable baseball card in the world and discovers he has the power to travel through time using a baseball card like a time machine.  The result was “Honus & Me.”  The book was rejected by ten publishers over two years before HarperCollins published it in 1997.  Why Dan didn’t submit the book to Harper first is a mystery.

In any case, “Honus & Me” was a critical rave,  was nominated for eleven state book awards (the kids of California voted it their favorite book of the year), sold a gazillion copies, was loved by children everywhere, and was made into a play and a TV movie titled “The Winning Season.”   It also established Dan as an emerging name in children’s fiction and, most importantly, allowed him to avoid getting a real job.

Dan takes a special delight in seeing “Honus & Me” sold at Scholastic book clubs and book fairs, seeing as how Scholastic rejected the book–TWICE–when he submitted it to them.  To all the publishers who rejected “Honus & Me,” Dan has five words–Na na na boo boo.

“Honus & Me” was followed by “Jackie & Me” (which won the state book award in Pennsylvania and Maryland, “Babe & Me” (which won the state book award in Connecticut and Arizona), “Shoeless Joe & Me,” “Mickey & Me,” “Abner & Me,” “Satch & Me,” “Jim & Me,” “Ray & Me,” “Roberto & Me,” and “Ted & Me.”

Despite the success of this series, Dan stubbornly insists his best book is “Johnny Hangtime” (2000), a story about a boy who is a Hollywood stuntman.  The book was never nominated for anything and has sold about 12 copies, but it is soon to become a major motion picture (just as soon as Dan sells the screenplay he wrote for it).

In his insatiable quest for world domination, Dan turned toward younger readers in 2004, with “My Weird School,” a series of books for grade 1-3 about a school in which all the grown-ups are insane.  The first titles are “Miss Daisy is Crazy!” “Mr. Klutz is Nuts!,” “Mrs. Roopy is Loopy!,” “Ms. Hannah is Bananas!,” “Miss Small is Off the Wall!,” “Mrs. Hynde is Out of her Mind!,” and “Mr. Sacco is Wacko!” (They rhyme, you see).

There are 38 My Weird School books now, and Dan’s goal is to keep writin gthem until HarperCollins rips the laptop out of his cold, dead hands.  He knows where his bread is buttered.

   Oh, Dan has also written “The Get Rich Quick Club” (2004), and “Casey Back at Bat,” (2006.)  He has also written lots of other books such as “The Kid Who Ran For President” (Scholastic), “The Million Dollar Shot” (Hyperion) and “Race for the Sky” (Simon & Schuster).

 When he’s not writing books, Dan writes self-aggrandizing third-person bios like this one and visits about a 40 schools each year (how does he find the time?).  Astonishingly, he is also a loving husband to his wife Nina and their kids Sam and Emma.

We could go on and on telling you lots of great stuff about Dan, his fantastic books, and what a terrific guy he is.  But it would be a big bore.  Besides, you’ve got more important stuff to do, like sort out your recycling.  If you’d like to find out more about Dan or his books, visit his web site (www.dangutman.com).

Dan thinks you should buy lots of his books, for three reasons.  Kids will love them, and Dan needs the money.

Wait, that’s only two reasons.

Somehow, Dan survived his bland and uneventful childhood to grow up and write farfetched novels for kids such as The Homework Machine, Back in Time with Thomas Edison, Back in Time with Benjamin Franklin, Race for the Sky, The Secret Life of Dr. Demented, and a whole bunch of others for different publishers so we won’t mention them here.

Dan graduated from Rutgers University in 1977 with a degree in psychology (which means, in Latin, “a total waste of time”)..  He never took a writing class in his life, and it shows.  He doesn’t know how to create beautiful “word pictures.”  He never learned the standard formula for a novel.  There is no symbolism or deep moral lessons in his books.  He still doesn’t know the difference between a simile and a metaphor.

When he’s not writing books, Dan loves to travel, ride his bike, and write self-aggrandizing third-person autobiographies like this one.

Help!  We’re running out of room!  If you want to find out more about Dan or his brilliant and wonderful daughter Emma who is looking over his shoulder as he writes this, go to his web site (www.dangutman.com).

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Hey Everyone!!
Sorry I have not been keeping up with book reviews this summer but Now that school is starting i will be working harder to keep up with it.

I have new authors scheduled and more contests  in the future please keep sending me new books to read and comments.

I will be going in to middle school so fellow classmates if i miss a post feel free to go yell at our principle.

See you soon

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Super Spies and The Pied Piper by Lisa Orchard review

This week I read The Super Spies and the Pied Piper. Here are your reviews:

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late? -Amazon

Sarah Cole and the rest of her gang are at it again when the FBI stops looking for Sarah’s parents. She knows where the search left off at to begin at. She, the super Spies, and their driver all head up to that town and start to be followed. The stalker will stop at nothing to get Sarah in his grasp….Even if it means killing her, her friends, or getting arrested and/or killed.
Here’s what I liked loved about this book:
Lisa Orchard has kept each character the same. Each character’s attitude, style, even Jackie still tries to get capes accepted for the club. Each new character is well thought and added in smoothly. Past book reviews are hidden in the text so a reader could jump in at this book and still understand everything said.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The super spies and the pied piper

This week I am reading The Super Spies and the Pied Piper by Lisa Orchard. Here is her specific author interview:

What inspired you to write mysteries?

When I was a teen I wanted to be a detective and actually formed my own detective squad with my friends. We even investigated an act of vandalism that occurred in my neighborhood. We didn’t solve the mystery, but that summer is one of my favorite memories.

Murder, bombing, finding their parents, what will Lacey and Sarah experience next?

I’ve got the idea for the fourth Super Spies book and I’ll be starting it soon! I really like this idea and I don’t want to spill the beans about it until I get the first draft down. But the idea is awesome and it’ll be just as good as the first three! 🙂

Why did you include drugs in this book?

I wanted to illustrate to readers that you have to be careful what you put into your body. Even over the counter drugs and prescription drugs can be harmful and I wanted to show that to my readers.

Why was the housekeeper so focused on capturing Sarah?

Because he was very loyal to his employer and he viewed her as a threat to their elaborate plan.

Why was he so secretive about it?

Because he wanted to protect his employer, remember no one knew where Sarah’s parents were. And his employer didn’t know that the Cole’s (Sarah’s parents) had any children. So when Sarah and Lacey showed up in town searching for their parents, he panicked.

How much time passes between books?

Between “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer” (Book One) and “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” (Book Two)…about three months.

Between “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” and “The Super Spies and the Pied Piper” (Book Three) …about a week.

Here’s the blurb:

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Here’s the cover:

TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

The White Dolphin by Gill Lewis

Two weeks ago I was supposed to and read white dolphin (AKA first published as One White Dolphin).

A mother dolphin and her albino calf are in peril in this heart-pounding adventure from the author of the acclaimed ecological novel Wild Wings.
Kara is not sorry she punched Jake in the nose—she simply couldn’t stand to hear him say one more nasty thing about her missing mother, or her out-of-work father…or her. But it’s more than a broken nose to Jake’s family: It’s fuel for the fire. They’ve had it with Kara’s family and their devotion to protecting marine life and saving the reef. Dredging the reef will mean fisherman can reel in more money. That’s what the town needs.
But what the town gets is an unexpected new kid, a Paralympics sailing hopeful named Felix. When a baby albino dolphin caught in old fishing netting washes ashore, Felix and Kara work with vets and specialists to save her and reunite her with her mother, setting off a chain of events that might just save the reef.      -Amazon

Kara is living with her dad, aunt, uncle, and Daisy her cousin. At night she dreams of standing at the beach at night watching a dolphin swimming away. At school she deals with a bully, and now she her dad is selling their boat.  A new kid moves to town and is rude to Daisy. Then baby dolphin washes on shore and it up to her and the new kid to save it and the nearby reef. They use Kara mom’s information, and their wisdom to do this. -me.

Tuesday I will review The Magicians Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.

I have recently sent these authors their interview questions!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Hi! I have been really busy since it is Summer on my planet! I have had lots going on and I have been on my ‘F’ game! I missed two reviews so these next two posts will make up for that. then it will be the same,…HOPEFULLY. Sorry about my laziness!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments