A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids will learn about brain-freezing, advanced math, and robotics. Ungifted also does a great job of illustrating the difference between academic brilliance and ingenious creativity and how both have their strengths and limitations.
While quite a few of Donovan's adventures are of the sort that earned him the nickname "Don't Try This at Home," the messages of collaborative cleverness, teamwork, and the value of people having different interests and skill sets are strong.
Positive Role Models
Donovan has a penchant for comical mayhem but is also responsible enough to feel bad about the impact that his misdeeds have on his family and to want to do better. He uses his creative problem-solving to help the gifted kids and his family. The gifted school students offer a believable mix of positive qualities and extreme cluelessness. Robotics lab teacher Mr. Oz is a good teacher and supportive of the kids; Dylan's family members love him and help keep him from serious trouble.
Violence & Scariness
Donovan whacks a bronze statue with a board. There's chaotic mortal combat between robots. Donovan's brother-in-law is deployed in Afghanistan, and his sister worries about him.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The academy students have a required Sex Ed course; Donovan persuades his pregnant sister to become the subject of a class.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Minor crude language, e.g. "butt" and "pee," the latter in the context of pregnant women and dogs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Donovan refers to his distant ancestors and his fascination with Ancestry.com, and YouTube figures prominently in the tale.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ungifted is another page-turning middle-school comic adventure from prolific, kid-pleasing author Gordon Korman (The 39 Clues, Pop). Class prankster Donovan Curtis is definitely "ungifted," at least compared with his high-IQ classmates at the academy for gifted children, where he's sent by mistake. But as it turns out, in a wacky tale incorporating Afghanistan, pregnancy (of Donovan's sister, whose husband is deployed), robotics, bronze statuary, a cranky Chow Chow, and much more, he and the geniuses have a few things to teach one another. Expect a little crude language, robot combat, and plenty of comic mayhem.
Is It Any Good?
UNGIFTED once again shows The 39 Clues series author Gordon Korman's light touch and fine sense of the absurd. The varied characters and their perspectives on events in this page-turning wacky tale will resonate with kids and adults; the issues they confront -- from prankster mayhem to cheating on tests to just exactly what constitutes "gifted," anyway -- move the story along and offer interesting things to consider after it's over.
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.