A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some light science, including brief explanations of light-years, wormholes, and air locks.
Good messages on problem-solving with teamwork and accepting people for who they really are.
Positive Role Models
Kelvin wants to live up to his undeserved genius reputation yet is anxious he'll be found out. He feels badly about lying to his family and takes steps to make it right. Kelvin's parents are attentive and affectionate. His friends come to his aid when he's targeted by a bully and when they're all in danger.
Violence & Scariness
Young child is rescued from precarious situation but in a lighthearted context. A large alien subdues a bully.
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A bully is described as a "jerk."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sci-Fi Junior High features a seventh-grader who isn't as smart as everyone around him believes but is challenged to rise to the occasion when the universe is in danger. It's a graphic novel by the author-illustrator team of Scott Seegert and John Martin (the Vordak the Incomprehensible series). There are some cartoonishly perilous situations, plus a touch of potty humor, but it's primarily a middle school story with a supporting cast of diverse aliens. The book is promoted as the first book in the publishing imprint of James Patterson, who's written a raft of popular middle school books (including Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!). The name of the imprint is jimmy patterson (yes, all lowercase).
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to stand out in the crowded field of middle school graphic novels targeted to boys, and this space-adventure entry tries mightily by piling on giggles but never quite gets off the ground. Sci-Fi Junior High is a fun enough romp, lightly held together with a barely there plot and lively artwork. Scott Seegert and John Martin cover familiar territory: There's the large and not-too-bright bully, the annoying younger sister, and the jokes about teachers. There's also the smart and capable girl making overtures to the oblivious hero, who's focused instead on the pretty girl he only sees from a distance.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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