1 October 2012, Arthur A. Levine Books.
ARC from Netgalley.com
Brian is not happy about leaving Seattle and all of his friends just because his father is trying to get a new material named Plastisteel off the ground. Because money is tight, the family has to move in with the grandfather. Brian runs afoul of school bully Frankie on his first day, putting him to shame with his skateboarding moves, and escapes being beaten up only with the help of Max and his rocket powered bike! Max's mother is working on Plastisteel as well, and Max has stolen a piece in order to make an airplane. When Brian's dad is unable to secure funding from Mrs. Douglas, Max and Brian, along with their friend Alex, approach her with information about the plane. She won't fund anything until she sees that the plane can actually fly, so the boys get to work on making the prototype work. Brian is still at the mercy of Frankie, who gives him a hard time at every turn, but also is interested in Wendy, Frankie's sister, who seems to like him as well. Can Brian and his friends get the airplane to work, secure funding for the parents AND stay out of Frankie's evil clutches?
Strengths: This starts out with skateboarding and moves quickly into the rocket powered bike... awesome. While there was a lot of information about constructing and flying a plane that didn't interest me, I think that boys will find this intriguing. Brian holds his own with Frankie, and the romance with Wendy is a very nice touch. Strong sense of place and good writing make this second book from Mr. Reedy a very good choice for middle grade boys.
Weaknesses: The theme of bullying seems overdone to me, and it was slightly hard to believe that Max was both that geeky (few of my students are still interested in Star Trek) and that mechanically talented. Will students feel the same way about these topics? Probably not.
Whoa. Had a moment when I almost felt caught up. Amazing what a volunteer every day and two afternoons without cross country practice can accomplish! Books to be shelved not overflowing, Accelerated Reader labeling project ticking along, even TBR pile at home manageable. Fridays are the slowest day of the week, since I purposefully scheduled all of the language arts classes Monday-Thursday. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have nine classes a day and check out over 300 books, so I am working hard enough! My original thought was to have research classes on Friday, but we can't have any during 4th or 5th period because of the study halls, so teachers don't want to come at all. Sigh. There are enough four day weeks in the year that this scheduling does make it easier to move classes if necessary.
And then there's that 100 slide power point on 100 Great New Books I need to have done for November. Well, being caught up was nice while it lasted.