The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

( 5 )

Overview

Super-smart Julian Calendar thinks starting junior high at a new school will mean he can shed his nerdy image–but then he meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientists like himself! The three form a secret club, complete with a high-tech lair. There, they can work to their hearts content on projects like the Stink-O-Meter, the Kablovsky Copter, and the Nightsneak Goggles.

All that tinkering comes in handy when the trio discovers an evil scientist's dastardly plan to rob a museum. ...

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Overview

Super-smart Julian Calendar thinks starting junior high at a new school will mean he can shed his nerdy image–but then he meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientists like himself! The three form a secret club, complete with a high-tech lair. There, they can work to their hearts content on projects like the Stink-O-Meter, the Kablovsky Copter, and the Nightsneak Goggles.

All that tinkering comes in handy when the trio discovers an evil scientist's dastardly plan to rob a museum. Can three inventors, armed with their wacky creations, hope to defeat this criminal mastermind?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Meet red-headed Julian, glasses-wearing science geek. Starting at a new junior high school, Julian is determined to hide his intelligence and his interests in order to be more like a normal kid and in hopes of not getting bullied and teased. Two unlikely figures emerge from the crowd: Greta, a tough girl known to be a “dangerous maniac,” who wears a bike helmet at all times, and Ben, talented athlete and supposed “dumb jock.” Julian is surprised to find that these two share his love of science, and the three form the titular alliance, inventing pranks and contraptions, and stopping a crime. Everything about this very original story works. The ebullient characters are well-defined and well-designed; dramatic tension rises and falls at just the right pace; dialogue is snappy, funny and real; and the art is stunning. Davis uses Rube Goldberg/Chris Ware techniques to create splashy and bright pages filled with curious machines, maps, diagrams and closeup details of secret laboratories. The story is sprinkled with inventions (including the “Distract-a-Dad,” “Stinkometer,” and “Secret Science Submarine”) and facts about science, all designed to enthrall young readers with its sense of discovery. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Michael Jung
To the world at large, eleven-year-old Julian Calendar is a nerd—more comfortable with calculating trajectories in his head than playing sports. But when Julian hangs out with his new friends Ben Garza and Greta Hughes, he gets to be an ULTRA nerd—which is just how Ben and Greta like him. Because Ben, Greta, and Julian are part of the Secret Science Alliance, a covert club of inventors who have commandeered an abandoned basement as their workshop/laboratory where they turn all the bizarre inventions in their heads—from the odor-analyzing Stinkometer to the high-flying Kablovsky Copter—into amazing reality! But when an evil scientist steals the blueprints to the Alliance's inventions, the kids must use their bizarre gadgets to stop the crook before he uses their inventions to commit a dastardly robbery. Part Rube Goldberg, part "Mission Impossible," The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook will excite any kid who has dreamed of creating outlandish gadgets out of everyday junk. Davis does a great job of using the comic book medium to tell the story, often turning panels into elaborate blueprints that showcase the inner workings of each kid's invention. The book also earns points for not making the kids a group of stereotypical nerds, but giving each character a distinctive personality (Greta is a security-obsessed tough, girl. Ben is a talented athlete whose poor test-taking skills mask his real genius). Overall a fun book that will leave new readers eager for the inevitable sequel. Reviewer: Michael Jung
School Library Journal
Gr 3-7–Julian Calendar, 11, is a supersmart transfer student trying desperately to fit in at his new middle school. Just when he starts to believe that he’ll never find his place, he discovers two other brilliant minds and together they form the Secret Science Alliance. These three braniacs create their own book of blueprints for such cunning creations as “the stinkometer,” sticky and dangerous gluebombs, and the flying “Kablovsky Copter.” However, their blueprints are stolen by evil Dr. Stringer, who has plans for them. Davis’s first long-form comic is packed full of detail down to every minute tool in the Alliance’s workshop, and the flying words and panels move the story at a quick pace. Davis’s creativity is evident from the myriad gadgets and schemes of the story. Children will see, through these inventions and the triumph of the protagonists, that science can be cool.–Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
Julian Calendar has a plan to avoid being a friendless nerd at his new school: Play dumb and pretend to love sports. Two weeks later, he's not been labeled a nerd, but he still has no friends. Then an encrypted invitation arrives. Julian is surprised to find supposed trouble-maker Greta and superjock Ben waiting to invite him to join their inventor's club, and the Secret Science Alliance is born. The three happily invent in their secret underground clubhouse until they incur the disdain of stodgy, mean, local inventor Dr. Stringer. When their idea book vanishes, there's only one suspect. In getting the book back, the SSA uncovers an even more dastardly plot. With its frenetically eye-catching, full-color panels chock-full of humorous and informative detail, Davis's first (of many, one hopes) graphic adventure of the SSA pumps new life into the kids'-secret-society formula. With its bounty of factlets slipped in for learning on the sly, it's a sure kid and teacher pleaser-a perfect package for tweens. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599903965
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 447,780
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eleanor Davis received a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor award for her first children's book, Stinky. This is her first full-length graphic novel. She lives and works with her boyfriend, Drew Weing, in Athens, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Comic Book

    It is good for elementary kids.I bought it for my 7yr old son.He read it twice and told me the story.It seems he has learned some good lessons of adventures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    7 Year Old Loved It

    This comic book about a classroom science nerd was a hit with my 7 year old. The comic book style made for a good, easy read, with each of us taking turns playing various characters. This book is particularly good for a kid who doesn't like to read or is put off by the format of regular books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted December 1, 2009

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    Posted November 10, 2011

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