Category Archives: Junior Fiction

Book Reviews on Junior Fiction Books

An Average Boy saves the World



Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average

by Erin Hayes

Good for Grades 3 and up.


This is a fun and entertaining novel set in the present with a believable and likable hero.  The premise is that Earth is being invaded by a group of aliens who find the most average person on Earth, and use that person to discover how best to destroy the inhabitants so the aliens can colonize the planet once all the humans are gone.

Jacob Smith is the most average boy on Earth.  Most popular name, most popular favorite color, average sports ability, average grades…  I loved the idea that someone who is average, nothing special to outward appearances can become the hero his family needs and save the Earth.  The characters are wonderful, the Goth Sister, perfect Brother with a secret,  Computer wiz best friend, Crazy Grandfather with an Area 51 obsession, even the aliens are unique: the Fibonacks, aliens who are obsessed with perfection and write the equations of their perfection on their bodies.  Even side aliens like the Octopus like Alien that sits on your head and transmits signals across the galaxy was fun and unusual.

I read this as a Netgally reader looking for books for our school library, but I enjoyed this enough and I like the premise enough to recommend our library purchase a copy, or anyone who enjoys a good classic Sci-Fi thriller.  Anytime I find a book that encourages kids to look beyond the labels society puts on them and does it in a way that is both entertaining and age appropriate I highly recommend it.  And it is a Science Fiction novel to boot.  There are not that many good JF Sci-Fi books out there.

Readkiddoread! Great ideas from James Patterson

I love lists and crossing things off. Well, this list will launch your summer. James Patterson who writes something for everyone has put together some great titles to create a humungous reader out of you. No need to break a sweat – he has done all the thinking for you.

Now as regards the crossing off part…

When you finish a book cover to cover and cross it off your list. Let me know, and we’ll start up the ice-cream sundae count-down. Click on the list…

If you plow through these great reads, find some more of Mr. Patterson’s recommendations at:

What’ll it be… chocolate, strawberry, vanilla?

Aargh….! What happened in the 2000X vacuum!!?

Adapted from the Horn Book Guide Review:

Ten-year-old Flora Belle Buckman’s life changes when she resuscitates a squirrel after his near-death experience with her neighbor’s Ulysses 2000X vacuum.

Flora discovers that the incident has caused the squirrel, whom she also names Ulysses, to acquire superpowers. There’s only one problem: Ulysses’s archnemesis, Flora’s self-absorbed, romance novel -writing, squirrel-hating mother.

Beneath the basic superhero-squirrel-friend plot, DiCamillo focuses on larger life issues such as loss and abandonment, acceptance of difference, loneliness, love, overcoming fears, and the complexity of relationships.

Ulysses loves to eat …just about anything; and there is a quirky supporting cast, including Flora’s absent-minded father, her eleven-year-old neighbor William Spiver, and his great-aunt, Tootie Tickham. This little girl and squirrel and their heartwarming tale could melt even the most hardened archnemesis’s heart. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo click on this link

Here’s the kicker: Come in and CHECK IT OUT or say “Ulysses!” and you will receive the book and a prize!