A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Gifted kids finally get their due. These characters are not nerds -- they combine their intelligence with passion and depth to tell their stories in ways that are both clever and moving. This story offers a refreshing take on competition and friendship.
Positive Role Models
The main characters not only compete in an academic contest (contest answers included at the back!) but also outwit the class bullies using brains, not brawn.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
One veiled reference to making love, made by an amorous grandpa about his bride.
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Correct words used for donkey and female dog, but the characters clearly acknowledge the words' use as vulgarity.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that superb writing and characters make for a great story, but complexities of plot and style may leave some readers frustrated or bored.
Is It Any Good?
Konigsburg weaves all the elements together into a satisfying and thought-provoking whole, though one so intricately constructed that it may be confusing to inexperienced readers.
Nadia, Noah, Ethan, and Julian each narrates a part of the book. Part of the pleasure comes from watching the foursome's varied life experiences help them succeed as an Academic Bowl Team, and part comes from the suspense generated at the story's beginning: How does Mrs. Olinski select the children for her team? The story's themes -- that life is a journey, that no part of our experience is lost -- appear in touches as varied as Nadia's talented dog, Julian's shipboard apprenticeship with a magician, and sea-turtle lore.
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.