Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman
This book was a pleasant escape from edgy YA fiction. It's the story of four fifth graders (all with very different personalities—the popular kid, the brainiac, the unmotivated student, and the type-A student) who use the smart kid's computer to complete all of their homework. The scheme draws them together while parents, teachers, and other students can't figure out why in the world these four kids hang out together every day after school. The story is told in small snippets from the points of view of numerous characters. There are touching moments as well as reflections on the ethics of the homework machine, but overall the tone is light and the book is a breeze to read. I appreciated that the kids were multicultural and there was also one suspenseful surprise at the end that I didn't see coming. I think this would be most popular with 4th and 5th graders, but it's definitely worth a look for 6th graders also.