About the Book: Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that’s only the beginning . . . It turns out that there’s an entire colony of space humans, and Jacob’s long-lost father just might be one of them.
My Two Cents: This book is all kinds of fun. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, full of adventure, and really well written. There are tons of mini-adventures within the overall arc that will keep kids flipping the pages. I kept expecting Bransford’s characters to settle into stereotypes…and they never did. I’m guessing even reluctant readers will devour this one.
Grade Level: 3-6
- The official Jacob Wonderbar book trailer!
- Jacob talks about the Brandenburg Concertos in chapter 4. Did you know that NASA put a “Golden Record” of some of Earth’s best music on its Voyager space probe, and one of the Brandenburg Concertos was on that golden record? You can listen to the Brandenburg here, and while you’re at it, make your own list of Earth’s best music.
- Sarah says her hero is Betty Friedan. Read a little about Betty here and see why you think Sarah chose her. Who do you think Jacob’s hero is? Who is Dexter’s hero?
- Jacob notices that the moon looks orange sometimes from Earth. He thinks it’s from pollution, and he’s right. But there’s another reason you can read about here.
- Jacob’s class is supposed to recite the elements of the periodic table. It would be more fun to memorize them if you used this periodic table (although even college chemistry teachers don’t usually make you memorize it!)
- The scientists on Planet Archimedes think it’s funny that they can spell a word by typing numbers into their calculator and turning it upside down. What words can you spell on your calculator? Here’s a hint to get you started:
0 = O, 1 = I, 3 = E, 4 = h, 5 = S, 6 = g, 7 = L and 8 = B
More to Read:
- Another story about a kid’s wild adventures and the cool science machines he uses along the way: Popular Clone by M.E. Castle
- Another unbelievable adventure featuring two boys, one girl, and a LOT of humor: Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger
- Another boy who’s not always on his best behavior at school…and the trouble it gets him into: The Rat Brain Fiasco by Julie Berry
- Another funny story of a kid who encounters a whole other civilization:Elliot and the Goblin War by Jennifer Nielsen