THE DRAKE EQUATION for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

This is a wildly imaginative story with science fiction pushing the plot forward. 26245966Noah is a boy who loves birds. He tracks them with his binoculars in hopes of adding to the list of birds he’s spotted.

Not hooked yet? Well, turn the page and before you know it Noah has found a round disk that fits in his hand. From there the mystery unfolds as to the purpose of this strange object. It’s like a weird phone or a video game with a menu of confusing words. Of course any curious kid  would try it out, and Noah’s choices bring some amazing results – both good and bad.

A believable group of friends and enemies add to the fun and intrigue. There are also several unexpected twists throughout. I couldn’t wait to reach that final page to see how all of this mayhem would get solved. My reward for finishing the story was the familiar smell of a sequel. Noah solving one problem leads to another and readers are left hanging at the end with questions.

Other than that ending, I enjoyed this one like a little kid at the movies with a big tub of popcorn. A tasty treat for sure.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Noah Grow is a bird-watcher. If you’re picturing some kid in a big floppy hat, peering up into trees through giant binoculars . . . well, good job. That’s exactly what he does. Right now, Noah is on a quest to find a wood duck. According to his calculations, aka the Drake Equation, the odds are good-really good-for spotting one.

That’s why he gets off the bus at the wrong stop. And that’s how he ends up running down a hill, crashing into a fence, and landing right next to a strange, glittery disk.

Noah and his best friends, Jason and Jenny, soon discover that the mysterious disk is, well, mysterious. It gives Noah peculiar powers. As things go from odd to outrageous, Noah is swept up in a storm of intergalactic intrigue and middle-school mayhem. There’s much more at stake than Noah realizes.


  1. Noah is a likeable protagonist who catalogs everyone, both birds and humans. Each time a new character enters the story we get a look at Noah’s field notes describing the person’s appearance, voice, plumage, range, social behavior, and status. Fun to read, and I’m sure they were fun to write.
  2. Noah’s parents are quirky and so different from any other parent in the neighborhood. Their job is designing playground equipment which makes for some amusing and surprising interactions with their son.
  3. The dialog is witty especially when its between Noah and his middle school crowd. Those years as a teacher served Bart King well.
  4. Aliens, but not like ones you’ve ever experienced in print before. I’m sure kids will be smiling like I was with their appearance.
  5. The mix of contemporary issues with science fiction works well. You’ll even learn a few things about birds along the way.

FAVORITE LINES:  A thrill swept over my scalp to my toes (even my right big toe, which was sticking through a hole in my sock). Goose bumps covered my arms. I had to tell someone – anyone – about this right away.

And so another domino fell. How was I supposed to know that such a little bird would lead to such BIG trouble?

For a look into the mind of Bart King visit his blog. There are always several interesting and often hilarious videos.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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10 Responses to THE DRAKE EQUATION for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I hadn’t heard of this one. It sounds really good and fast-paced. And there’s not that many science fiction stories for middle graders.

  2. I am not big on reading science fiction, but this one does sound intriguing. I especially like the witty dialogue and unexpected twists and turns. I will look for this one at my library. Thanks.

  3. This sounds like a ton of fun! Thanks for sharing!

  4. diegosdragon says:

    I’d buy the book just for the cover!

  5. Joanne Fritz says:

    I remember that line being one of my favorites too! Glad to hear you enjoyed this as much as I did.

  6. One doesn’t often find a birder as the hero of a kids’ book. This one sounds awfully fun, and I don’t even particularly like SciFi. The core is a real draw. Maybe I will check this out. Thanks for the post.

  7. I saw this the other day. Maybe this post is a sign I should pick it up! It sounds like a perfect mix of sci-fi and wit.

  8. This is a new series for me. Sounds like a great SciFic with an unusual protagonist.

  9. Andrea says:

    This sounds so fun! Plus, I’m a bird watcher so I’m intrigued by this main character. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  10. Pingback: SOAR for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday | Always in the Middle…

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