Albert Hopper, Science Hero by John Himmelman

Albert Hopper, Science Hero by John Himmelman. Henry Holt, 2020. 9781250230164

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Science fiction

What did you like about the book? This “latest adventure” is the first installment of a science fiction series, featuring Albert Hopper, science hero, and his niece and nephew, junior science heroes. The three frogs embark on a trip to the center of the earth on a ship shaped like a caterpillar called Wiggles, identifying all of the layers of the earth on their quest to the molten core. Mishaps are easily managed by one of the three, and the humorous banter, especially between Polly and Tad, is refreshingly, well, fresh. Some of the joking is meta, as in chapter 64 entitled “Don’t Touch the Sides!” When Tad burns his hand on the side of the ship, Polly says, “Didn’t you read the chapter title?” They definitely have the sibling rivalry thing going. They are frogs, so naturally in their journey to the center of the earth, they meet cave-frogs. When I looked for a recap of the geological terms used in the text, I was happy to see them recapped in “Polly’s Notes” at the end. The short sentences, short chapters and numerous vignette-type illustrations make this appealing for newly independent readers who like equal doses of science and humor.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The black, white and green art is cute, but adds little to the story.

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 7-9, for readers who enjoy the Magic Tree House series, but prefer more humor.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: November 18, 2020

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