This is a wildly imaginative story with science fiction pushing the plot forward. Noah 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.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 302
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.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE DRAKE EQUATION by Bart King
- 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.
- 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.
- The dialog is witty especially when its between Noah and his middle school crowd. Those years as a teacher served Bart King well.
- 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.
- 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.