Delacorte Press/Random House, Inc., 2012
Brendan Buckley is headed to middle school, and he has lots of big questions. Will he be able to
keep his green anole, Einstein, alive? Why won't new-girl Morgan Belcher leave him alone? And what
will he propose for the national science competition his class is entering?
When his alternative energy idea gets him paired with Morgan, Brendan is more than a little skeptical.
But their partnership clicks and they embark on a methane-producing experiment involving bottles, balloons,
and the freshest cow manure they can find.
As Brendan spends more time on the experiment, his big questions get even bigger. He misses hanging out with
Khalfani, his best friend and Tae Kwon Do sparring partner. Will they remain best friends? And Brendan and his
police detective father aren't exactly seeing eye-to-eye. Does Dad think he's a science-nerd wimp? Can Brendan
prove to him that his scientific pursuits really could be world-changing?
Readers will welcome the return of the popular and appealing Brendan Buckley as he encounters the trials and
tribulations of middle school and struggles to forge his own identity within his family.
Booklist: "[T]he complexity of the characters and strength of Brendan's family sets the book apart, as does Brendan's biracial identity. This has solid boy appeal--it brims with details about martial arts, lizards, and fresh manure--and fans of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It (2007) will want to get their hands on it." (February 2012)
Kirkus Reviews: "[I]n this likable sequel...Middle schoolers and science projects make for enjoyably
combustible fiction...appealing Brendan should keep readers fully engaged." (December 1, 2011)
School Library Journal: "Young readers will have plenty to relate to here...The characters are well
developed and the story is realistic. Children will enjoy the ups and downs of Brendan's sixth-grade year and wait
eagerly for his future exploits." (January 2012)
Brendan learns a lot about biomass and biogas and how these might impact global climate and the future of our
planet. (He shares some facts about these things at the end of the book). If you'd like to try the experiment Brendan
does (or are looking for other experiment ideas), check out this great website:
An audio version of Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment has been produced by Random
House's Listening Library. The narrator, Mirron Willis, is exceptional (he also narrated Christopher Paul
Curtis's Elijah of Buxton). Listen to an excerpt.
"Now, I have a very important announcement to make," Mr. H said. "This year, we have the opportunity to participate
in an online science competition for middle school students. The theme is 'Making the World Better.'"
A science competition! Yes! I buzzed from head to toe.
"There are divisions for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teams, and each team must consist of at least two people ..."
I bumped Khal's elbow with mine.
"Regional finalists will be chosen from across the United States."
Kids from all over the country? This was huge!
"The winning team will receive a nice sum of money–"
"Ka-ching," Khal whispered. "Now we're talking."
"–to enhance their school's science program."
Khal groaned in disappointment.
"They will also get to travel to an institute of higher learning to work with top scientists in the field of
Whoa. Now that would be cool!
Mr. H smiled. "I believe we have some finalist potential in this room." His eyes dared us to rise to the challenge.
"Who knows? Maybe even a first-place team."
I grinned. Winning the top prize in a national science competition...No touchdown, no matter how impressive, could
even come near that.
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