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Playful story full of fun, inventions, trouble, and friends.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This story is filled with adults who care about kids, from parents and grandparents, to teachers, shop owners, barbers, and neighbors. The friendships between kids and siblings are supportive, creative, and positive. Interesting to note that one child did not win a prize at the "reinvention fair" because there was too much parental involvement in her work. Melonhead's mother is highly nervous, which explains some of his behavior.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable

"Butt," "chicken butt."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Melonhead and Sam get into trouble because they don't think about consequences. The boys don't mean any harm, but they don't think about dangers that could come to them or others by their actions. Parents talk with the boys about their behavior, but the effect is minimal. Parents also need to know that the boys capture a wild snake and bring it home. They learn to feed it live mice, which is described. Also, there's lots of sugar in this story, from breakfast cereal to junk food snacks.

What's the story?

Adam "Melonhead" Melon is a budding inventor with a knack for getting into trouble. He and his best friend, Sam, enter a school science project to recycle an older invention into a new one. Their first idea is to make a shallow-water submarine so that they can help FBI agents catch crooks who might be discussing crimes at the Reflecting Pool in Washington DC. When they realize this idea is not going to work, they come up with a series of other ideas, all equally wacky. Along the way, they spend their days like two 10-year-old boys -- doing homework, mud surfing, catching snakes, and roof running. In the end, and with the help of their daily adventures, the boys find a way to make all their wrong ideas become one giant right one.

Is it any good?


MELONHEAD is a delightful romp through the life of a ten-year-old boy, and is filled with positive good energy. There's plenty of boy and girl appeal in this story full of friendships and classmates. The Washington DC backdrop adds color to the boys' adventures, as famous landmarks are part of their neighborhood.

As the boys come up with new ideas for a reinvention, readers also learn about real-life inventions and the people who invented them. This story is good for reading aloud or reading alone, and is a big high-five.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why and how Melonhead gets into trouble. Does he mean to get into trouble? Do you think his parents do a good job of helping him learn about his actions? Families can also talk about the friendship between Melonhead and Sam, as well as Lucy Rose and Jonique. How do you know they are good friends?

Book details

Author:Katy Kelly
Illustrator:Gillian Johnson
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:March 10, 2009
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 and 8 year old Written byMrs. Edwards December 1, 2010
Parent of a 4 and 8 year old Written byBrookland mom July 8, 2010

Fun book for all ages, but especially good if you are looking for boy readers

This is a funny book that most boys and many girls will identify with. I lent it to a coworker's 7 year old son and he was quoting it. This is an extension of the Lucy Rose series and builds on the characters introduced in that series. They are all worth reading. As a DC parent, I really wish Washington could be this fun and free wheeling for kids, but it does connect.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old February 4, 2012

Good Book

It's a good book, but it drags on for the first 28 pages. Boy, age 10.
What other families should know
Great messages


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