Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Tiny Geniuses: Fly to the rescue! by Megan E. Bryant

A lot of history/fiction blends have been coming out recently, and this is a new beginning chapter series in that vein.

Jake has really, really tried in science class. But, once again, he's failed a quiz. And this time his parents threaten to make him quit baseball! The only thing that's left to do is make a wish in the Wishing Well. Rumor has it that if you throw in your most precious possession, your wish will come true. Jake doesn't want to throw in his most precious possession (what would it be anyways?) but he does have a whole set of Heroes of History figures...

The next thing Jake knows, he's got a miniature Amelia Earhart and Sir Isaac Newton in his bedroom. When they're not marveling over paperclips or arguing over women's rights, they're willing to help Jake out with his science fair project - which just might let him pass and stay on the baseball team. But will they really be able to help or will Jake's science fair project just get him an even bigger F in science class?

An afterword tells the reader a little more about the two historical figures. This is a fun mix of science and fiction, but I'm not sure I'd be happy handing this to a kid. Both historical figures are necessarily caricatures, their personalities and accomplishments shown in broad strokes without some of the more complex details of their lives. Jake's school felt cartoony as well - do any teachers mark papers with big red Fs anymore? There's also a stereotypical bully. For that matter, how many schools still do a science fair? Jake's idea was cool, and his decision to use his own work and research and not that of Earhart and Newton was a nice conclusion.

Verdict: Not my top choice; this will appeal to fans of Ben Franklin's in my Bathroom and Magic Tree House fans, but it's not what I'd choose to introduce readers to these historical figures.

ISBN: 9780545909518; Published 2018 by Scholastic; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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