Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Drops: "Simon Bloom: the Octopus Effect" by Michael Reisman (Children's/YA) (rated 4 stars)

by Michael Reisman

This is Book 2 of the Simon Bloom series by Michael Reisman. I have not read the second but it is good as a stand-alone from the series. Reisman places a list of characters at the beginning as well as a glossary at the end to help keep new readers up to speed with what happened in the first book.

Simon Bloom, is a twelve year old kid, who has to save the world! Again! from the evil Sirabetta (aka Sara Beth). Along with his friends, Alysha and Owen, Simon must stop Sirabetta, who has some how regained her powers, which are activated by tattoos of various scientific formulas that cover her body. Along the way, Simon, Alysha, and Owen meet more people from the various scientific orders that were formed to help keep science moving forward. Some of these people are friends and of course, some of them are foes.

I love how this book is filled with science references, covering things from physics, biology and chemistry. There is also a little history spread in and as a kid reading it, there are lots of different things to learn, like the scientific name of saber-toothed tigers and characteristics and habits of octopi.

It is interesting how individuals are given their powers from “super” books, like the Book of Physics, which Simon becomes the Keeper of or the Book of Biology. The Books are linked to the universe and can transfer powers to the individual in charge of them. Some of the great fun of this book, is the scenes when people try out their new powers. For example, on pg. 167, Simon is given some traits of the octopus and his transformation is pretty gross. He has the flexibility trait and can stretch and shrink his arms and body. The way Reisman describes it is pretty nasty but I’m sure a boy and even girl reading it would find it hilarious and fascinating. Who doesn’t want powers?!? Even if they are weird and gross.

The fight scenes (yes, multiple! the kids and their friends get attacked by giant mammoths at one point) are really fun to read and you can feel the tension between the characters. There are really funny moments as well that had me laughing out loud. Fun read especially for those kids who love science.

Definitely good for 5th – 8th grades depending on the level of the reader. Good stuff!

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