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Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
     

Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper

by Nicholas Hormann
 

Ordinary sixth-grader Simon Bloom has just made the biggest discovery since gravity–and it literally fell into his lap. Or onto his head, anyway. You see, Simon has found the Teacher’s Edition of Physics, a magical reference book containing the very formulas that control the laws that govern the universe! By reciting the formulas out loud, he’s

Overview

Ordinary sixth-grader Simon Bloom has just made the biggest discovery since gravity–and it literally fell into his lap. Or onto his head, anyway. You see, Simon has found the Teacher’s Edition of Physics, a magical reference book containing the very formulas that control the laws that govern the universe! By reciting the formulas out loud, he’s able to do the impossible–like reverse the force of gravity to float weightlessly, and reduce friction to zoom across any surface!  

But a book that powerful isn’t safe with Simon for long. Before he knows it, he is being pursued by evil forces bent on gaining control of the formulas. And they’ll do anything to retrieve them. Now, Simon and his friends must use their wits and the magic of science in a galactic battle for the book, and the future of the universe, in this funny, fast-paced science fiction adventure from first-time author Michael Reisman.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Reisman's fast-paced, cinematic first novel, already optioned by Universal Studios, transcends its Spiderwickian premise to move in a different direction: it makes scientific concepts interesting and accessible. Like Newton's apple, a secret book-which contains so much power that it could become "the most dangerous thing in existence"-falls from above and hits the Everyboy protagonist, 11-year-old Simon Bloom from New Jersey, smack on the head. Titled the Teacher's Edition of Physics, it teachers Simon how to turn himself into an 11-year-old superhero. As he tells his friends, the super-cool Alysha and tiny, cowardly Owen, "This Book tells me how science really works.... It only lookslike magic if you don't understand." Using one of the book's formulas, he takes away Alysha's body's kinetic friction, and she slips and slides over dry forest leaves.The kids' personalities evolve as the book progresses, although the villains (they try to capture the book) are flat, stock characters. The narrator is British-"all the best Narrators are from Great Britain"-and members of an Order of Physics receive silly names, such as Ralfagon Wintrofline and Mermon Veenie. These mannerisms, by now familiar in novels for this target group, function almost as a kind of shorthand: kids who like ironic narration will like this title, too. Ages 9-up. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 14.

In an unprecedented sequence of events, Simon Bloom becomes Keeper of the Book for the Order of Physics (a part of the Council of Sciences that belongs to the Knowledge Union). The Book appears as a Teacher's Edition of a physics textbook, but it is much more powerful. The Book contains complete, true physics formulas, and knowing these formulas bestows the ability to control the laws of physics. Without realizing the Book's capabilities, Simon begins experimenting with things like gravity and friction. Owen and Alysha discover Simon's secret and are soon enthusiastically experimenting also. Being unaware that other people, some good and some bad, are searching for the Book, the three friends blunder into more adventure than they can handle. Or can they? Allusions to further adventures and multiple mentions about conflict between the Orders hint that this title might be the first in a potentially long series. The idea of a Book with real formulas that act like magic is intriguing and is perhaps the best part of the story. The action sequences are exciting, but it is not always easy to understand the physics explanation making the action possible. It is unfortunate that the characters are so young, eleven to twelve, making it difficult to recommend this book to many teens. The best audience for this book would be sixth graders or younger readers who enjoy school. It might be possible to suggest this book to a reluctant reader, but it would be best if they already like science. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is a disappointing book on many levels. First of all, the reader is not sure who is telling the story. There is an omniscient narrator who only shows up once in a while. The story involves twelve-year-old Simon who is pretty low on the pecking order in his class. He teams up with Owen, another outcast who does not really want to be part of the adventure—he knows he is an outcast and would like to remain that way as long as no one hurts him. Simon has found a book, the possession of which gives him control over the laws of physics. Actually, the book has found him, and suddenly Simon is part of a group of wizards. By page 66 I had had about enough of Simon, Owen, wizards and physics. Unfortunately, it was impossible to suspend my disbelief for the entire premise. Not recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7- Simon Bloom, an average sixth grader who has made a habit of keeping his head down and out of trouble, discovers a "teacher's edition" physics manual that allows him to control gravity, velocity, and other physical properties. With his newfound powers, along with some new friends, he must face a rogue member of the mysterious Order of Physics who seeks to overturn the laws of nature. Part "Harry Potter," part The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , with a hint of "Goosebumps" thrown in for good measure, Simon Bloom is a solid choice for the intended audience. The book has a standard plot and characters that rarely rise above one-dimensional; what saves it is the playful yet respectful way that Reisman integrates actual physics into the story. While his characters are running around fighting people with ridiculous names, they are also learning about Newton's laws of gravity, motion, and velocity. With its mixture of humor, fast-paced action, and science fiction, this book will certainly appeal to many readers. Hopefully, it will get them interested in learning more about the real science, not the kind that enables kids to fly or shoot electricity, but the kind that still does some pretty cool things.-Steev Baker, Kewaskum Public Library, WI

Kirkus Reviews
The town of Lawnville has many secrets; among them are the forest that hides itself from all but a select group and The Order of Physics, part of an arcane union that explores the sciences. Things start to break apart in Lawnville, however, when a sixth-grader named Simon Bloom (so ordinary that people often forget his name) comes into possession of a large book labeled Teacher's Edition of Physics. Pursued by a brilliant villain named Sirabetta and her not-so-bright sidekick, Mermon, Simon teams up with fellow sixth-graders Owen (easily frightened but resourceful) and smart, mouthy Alysha. Told in a series of amusingly titled chapters with occasional commentary by the (unseen, but omniscient) Narrator, this tale plays fast and loose with fantasy and science-fiction conventions-with great success. The action is fast-paced; there is lots of slapstick humor; and things do work out in the end. The last chapter even hints of a sequel. Tweens who enjoyed Lemony Snicket will be equally amused by this lightweight but swift and funny read. (Science fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739363539
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/22/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Reisman was born and raised in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where he spent a lot of time daydreaming in nearby woods. He can juggle and can use chopsticks with either hand, but he cannot control the universe (not for lack of trying). He’s got a black belt in napping; he loves pizza, chocolate, and NY egg rolls; and he enjoys writing about himself in the third person. His many jobs have included making smoothies, washing tents, and working in the movie/TV industry, but he’s happiest sitting in cafés and thinking up strange stories. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, and doesn’t have a dog–yet. This is his first novel.

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