Monday, October 7, 2013

Danny's Doodles- The Jellybean Experiment by David A. Adler

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! I have a sweet treat for everyone- Danny's Doodles- The Jellybean Experiment by David A. Adler. Adler is the author of the beloved Cam Jansen series.

The Story-
When Danny Cohen befriends the new kid at school, Calvin Waffle, he has no idea his life is about to change. Soon Calvin is following Danny around, taking notes in a journal and lurking outside Danny's classes. Danny thinks Calvin is weird, but he finds out just how weird when Calvin asks Danny to stuff his pockets with jellybeans for four days so Calvin can record the results of what happens.

Soon Danny is drawn into a strange friendship with Calvin, one that includes experiments and statistics. Together the boys have a blast and learn some fun facts about friendship.

My Thoughts-

This is a great new middle grade book that looks at the cookie ways of childhood and the bonding of true friends. Danny is wonderful. He is willing to go along with Calvin's tests and doesn't complain. His character overlooks the zany things about Calvin and the fact that Calvin's mom is weird too. Plus, there is a secret about Calvin's dad being a spy. Danny doesn't believe him, but he lets it slide, content that Calvin needs to tell the lie. Or is it? I think if there are more books, we might get some fun stuff.

Calvin is an oddball. At first you wonder about him, one of my favorite lines is when Calvin is explaining why he wears different colored socks everyday. "My feet are different. The right one is very serious. It likes solid blue socks. My left foot is often silly and likes colorful stripes." I actually snorted when I read it. So cute. Then we have Calvin's mom. As soon as you meet her you realize where Calvin gets his zaniness. His mom talks and talks and talks. Often about really random stuff. There's something off with her, but I wasn't sure what.

The main thing that I liked are the conclusions. The story leads children to realize that friendship is special. At one point Danny is thinking about Calvin and concludes, "Maybe his dad is a spy. And maybe he's not. Either way, it's OK with me. Friends don't ask questions. We just fill our pockets with jelly beans, help with experiments, walk together, eat lunch together, and listen." The other conclusion comes out at the very end of the story when Calvin shows others just how interesting he can be. Danny learns that being different is okay.

A great story. Teachers and parents- you'll like this one. 5 Stars!