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Science Fair by Dave Barry
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Science Fair (2008)

by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson

Other authors: James Bernardin (Illustrator)

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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This is a very silly story, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Our main protagonist, Toby, is in the 8th or 9th grade, and acts like it- including various stupid chpoices, like stealing stuff from his parents to sell to buy a fancy gaming computer. This brings a second plot into action... but the first is the way a foreign national is subverting the Science Fair in order to bring down the United States, with the aid and assistance of ambitious and unethical parents and kids.

Naturally, everyone believes the rich kids, including the Feds. So it is up to our middle-schoolers to save the day!

Unlike some of Barry's adult novels, this has no inappropriate content in terms of sex or language, so is suitable for most middle-schoolers and up- though as an adult, I found it a very entertaining read.

Characterization was good; ridiculousness abounds; the plot(s) is/are complex and a bit farce-like, and there's a real snarky shout-out to Home Shopping Network.

Recommended if you like silly farces! ( )
  cissa | Oct 1, 2015 |
Rating: 2.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Grdankl the Strong, president of Kprshtskan, is plotting to take over the American government. His plan is to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School, located in a Maryland suburb just outside Washington. The rich kids at Hubble cheat by buying their projects every year, and Grdankl's cronies should have no problem selling them his government-corrupting software. But this year, Toby Harbinger, a regular kid with Discount Warehouse shoes, is determined to win the $5,000 prize—even if he has to go up against terrorists to do it. With the help of his best friends, Tamara and Micah, Toby takes on Assistant Principal Paul Parmit, aka "The Armpit", a laser-eyed stuffed owl, and two eBay buyers named Darth and the Wookiee who seem to think that the Harrison-Ford-signed BlasTech DL-44 blaster Toby sold them is a counterfeit. What transpires is a hilarious adventure filled with mystery, suspense, and levitating frogs.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt for the 15th is a choose-you-own day! Wheee, right?

Naw. I hadda go an' eff it all up by making this my Drano book of the month. (You know, the one I read because I'd really rather drink Drano than read this author/genre/what's-it.)

So as expected I hated it. It's a middle-school market book. I didn't like middle-schoolers when I was one, and I like them less now. Vicious little bastards. They're hateful and spiteful and brimful of stupid. Yuck.

It doesn't help that the fake country the co-authors invent, Krpshtskan, is something straight out of Borat. (Remember that movie? Ye gawds.) It also doesn't help that the entire plot is such that Spy Kids begins to resemble Strindberg.

But you're not the audience, comes the cry. No indeed I am not. I am an adult with forty-six years of obsessive reading behind me! And yet others have tutted and tsked because there are those of us who don't want to read YA novels. So this random example, a Kindle special today, got the nod as my test subject. I have a Zilpha Keatly Snyder novel cued up to see if it's just humor that doesn't play well to an older audience. I need a respite before I wade into that one. This could easily be the most wonderful thing a kid could find, so I'm not raggin' on it as itself. It's just so extremely ridiculously grotesquely overblown and overplayed and after all, that's how kids like 'em.

But really, moms and dads, read this before giving kids access to it. Every adult is malevolent or stupid or both. Every authority is deaf, every honest person is reviled by all and sundry. Serious question here: Do you want your kid absorbing this message? That s/he's alone against an uncaring-to-hostile world, with parents that won't listen, teachers that smell bad, take bribes, and collude with enemies of the state?

This isn't good. It panders to an invidious set of stereotypes that reinforce a helpless, whadda-ya-gonna-do passivity and does so with "humor" so it slides down their gullets easier.

This bothers the hell out of me.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
2 vote richardderus | Jul 14, 2014 |
Pokes fun at third and fourth world countries
Makes terrorism seem insignificant ( )
  TeamDewey | Feb 20, 2014 |
Our family just listened to Science Fair by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Although this book is by no means as good as their Peter and the Starcatchers series, this is a good road trip book, especially for kids (and adults) who like that gross, bathroom style humor that Dave Barry is famous for. The story centers around a group of terrorists that are trying to control the world by sabotaging a school science fair held in a Maryland suburb. With characters names like Grdankl the Strong from the country of Kprshtskan (which seems to lack vowels), the audiobook is laugh out loud funny and narrator Phil Gigante has no problem spouting out vowel-less names and sound effects that add to the humor. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
Krpsht seeks revenge on the USA and Hatches a plot to use American middle schoolers' science projects to bring down the nation. It almost works, too--but Toby Harbinger and his friends (and one large frog) save the day.
  LibraryGirl11 | Jul 31, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dave Barryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pearson, Ridleymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernardin, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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We dedicate this book to the students.
Also, to the teachers.
Also, while we're at it, the frog.
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Five large, hairy men were gathered for a top secret meeting in a bunker under the presidential palace in the city of Krpsht.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Toby ontdekt dat er een samenzwering is om de regering van Amerika omver te werpen. Maar wat heeft dat te maken met de science fair van zijn school? Vanaf ca. 13 jaar..

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