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One out of every five U.S. residents functions at a "below basic" level of literacy, struggling with tasks such as rea... More
Publisher: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins, 2016
Material: hard cover
Summary: Henry has one dream: to be just plain Henry, just like every other sixth grader at his new school. Except its really hard not to be noticed when you're wearing the glow-in-the-day Elktonium shoes your dad invented ... or carrying an Elktonium lunchbox, or wearing Elktonium glasses. As hard as it was trying not to be noticed, it was even harder to say "No thanks, Dad." Henry's Mom discovered Elktonium, but she died before anyone could really understand it. While Henry's father was in the basement studying Elktonium, Henry discovered some of its properties when he was playing with his dog Pim Pom. He also discovered that not too far away (though he wasn't sure where) a young girl named Lulu needed help. She,too, had a dream - to be a ballerina - but her Aunt was squashing her creativity, and if Aunt Tiffany succeeded, Lulu would be lost to the universe. This is a science fiction adventure for upper elementary and middle school students.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 14; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 5.7
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Although I loved Henry's personality and found him engaging, overall the story sold him short. Young readers could relate to him on several levels, but the author seemed to put more emphasis on the silly plot elements. Some fit well, others were just overdone, repetitive, or "squashed" in without making sense.
Pros: The writing style creates a very visual story for readers. The story moves fairly quickly with a small set of characters.
Cons: The humor was overdone and took away from the better parts of the plot.
Educational Themes: Lots to draw from this one: from not having a mom, to living with a distracted parent, bullying, and struggling to make friends in a new place.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, science fiction, humor, coming of age, family, friendship, middle grade, time travel
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2017
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.