Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Ninjas, Pirhanas & Galileo

Ninjas, Pirhanas & Galileo

Fall 2003 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 11 yrs.
Author: Greg Leitich Smith
ISBN: 0-316-77854-0
Hardcover Price: $15.95
"The Gloriana Biddulph Memorial Science Fair Gold Medal is considered one of the Peshtigo School's prestige awards, and it's very weird that so many people take it seriously," says Elias, a Peshtigo seventh grader. He himself doesn't do science fairs; that is until his own father is asked to be the chief judge. "You're going to use me to get out of it," Eli said. To which Dad promptly replied, "Couldn't be too fair, could I with my own son participating?" It was a final answer.

And so begins the story of three friends who had long ago united themselves against the powers that be. Honoria, the only girl in the science fair, has already planned her project. She will be teaching a piranha to eat a banana. Shohei, a less enthusiastic scholar, has few plans other than to prove to his adoptive parents that he is sufficiently in touch with his ancestral culture and needn't eat seaweed, fishy and rice exclusively. Tater-tots from the school cafeteria are nice, too.

Finally there is Elias who, recalling one of the prime commandments of modern science: "thou shall obtain experimental confirmations," knew he had his science fair project. He would re-do one previously recorded (and highly lauded) experiment from the school archives to see if it was right.

This is a lovely slide of a read as well as the author's first book.

Diana Huss Green   ©2003 Parents' Choice

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