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The Smartest Kid in the Universe

The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.

Twelve-year-old, Jake McQuade, is perfectly content with living a mediocre life. He’s happy living an easy-breezy life, putting in minimal effort and his only goal is to be a likeable guy. That is, until he eats a handful of jelly beans and suddenly becomes the smartest kid in the universe!

Suddenly, Jake is in high demand. Even the government wants his help cracking codes and catching bad guys. But will Jake have enough smarts when his friends and his school need him?

This was a fun read. An easy and fairly light book, with a couple of laughs and lots of, mostly interesting, facts.

My favorite characters in this book were Kojo and Haazim Farooqi. Kojo is your typical good natured, jokester. But he is also smart and sincere in his own way. And Haazim, just had this kooky scientist vibe going on. I just loved his forgetfulness and almost cavalier approach to science.

One thing I did not like about this book, was that the topic of the morality of Jake’s new found ingestible knowledge. Only once, was it really mentioned that Jake’s smarts were akin to cheating and even then, it was only glossed over. This is something we will definitely discuss in my book club. Was it really right for Jake to be on the quiz bowl team?

Overall, I think kids will really enjoy this novel. It’s part trivia quest, part treasure hunt and part middle school fiction. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!


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