Okay, 2006 isn’t all that far back, but honestly, every generation needs to read at least one awesome story about kids who try to cheat and get away with it. First, because who doesn’t need to learn that lesson? Second, because we ALL dream big as kids, so we can all relate. When I was little, I was sure that by high school we’d all be flying to school using jet packs. But think about the licensing problems, the collisions, the parking…see, big dreams start out great, but then reality hits. Brenton’s big dream was to modify his computer so that it would do his homework for him, hence the book’s title, The Homework Machine. Amazingly, he did it and it worked, but soon thereafter his solution to homework transformed into a problem. Sam, Judy and Kelsey are assigned to be a study group with Brenton. The four are as different as can be, yet they have one thing in common. They all want in on the Homework Machine action and so the secret grows. Events gain momentum in their downhill roll and, eventually, their moral lapse is revealed. Written in concise chapters, each is narrated by a character explaining his/her perspective on the situation. Dan Gutman creates a sometimes humorous, sometimes harshly real view of following opportunities without considering their consequences. A great read-aloud perfectly suited for discussion of or the chance to write about right versus wrong and the morality of our actions and maybe even a little bit about big dreams.
By Dan Gutman
Accelerated Reader Level 4.8