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Publisher: Harper, an Imprint of Harpercollins Publishing, 2011
Summary: On the last day of school, most students are busy cleaning out their lockers, getting yearbook signatures - you know the drill. Not twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald. It wasn't long after they decided to walk home from school that they realized they were being followed. By some bad guy and a woman who said "trust me" then told them they needed to jump off a cliff. Thus begins the summer adventure of the McDonald family. This is the first book in Dan Gutman's middle grade series The Genius Files.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, read aloud book, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 9 to 13
Reading Level: 4.8
Age of Child: Read by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter devoured this book in about 3 days. She loves that the characters' names are tied to pop culture icons (Pepsi, Coke, McDonalds).
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is jam-packed with adventure, silliness, and A LOT of facts. While I enjoyed reading the book aloud, the sidebars and one-liners got tedious after a while.
Pros: Not just for summer vacation! There is plenty of action and laugh-out-loud humor to keep readers asking "what next" and turning the page.
Cons: This is a story all about the kids. Those who don't like (or tire of) space cadet parents probably won't like this book.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Fun to read, but like most "beach reads" this isn't a classic you'll keep forever.
Educational Themes: There is a ton of information about science, geography, and history that can be pulled out from the story. Starting with Coke's name!
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.