Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 144
Themes: science reports, jerks, idiots, goofy boys
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/Apr/2014
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When grade-eight science-project time rolls around, J.J. Murphy skips the beakers and the papiermâché and dives into research about jerks. And idiots. But mostly jerks. By his own estimation, his science project, On a Scale from Idiot to Complete Jerk, is groundbreaking, exhaustive, highly scientific and seriously worthy of bonus marks. Beginning with the dawn of humankind and concluding conclusively with a very cool pie chart, the project dissects the elements of jerkosity through extensive case studies and scientific illustrations. It explores the who, what, when, why and how of jerks and, more important, peppers the lively research with sciencey-looking graphs and charts that reveal a lot about J.J., his family and friends, and the jerks of this world.

Kirkus Reviews
"After establishing that jerks existed in prehistory using cave paintings and throughout history using folk tales and children’s literature, eighth-grader J.J. Murphy explains the need for a scientific study of jerk-ishness...His voice rings true...[An] amusing collection of anecdotes."
CM Magazine
"Hughes has crafted an authentic and endearing narrator–J.J. Murphy is the kind of boy most readers would like to be friends with...Hughes is a skilled writer, words roll off the page, and most readers will keep turning the pages. The “case studies” of various jerks–young jerks, old jerks, sports jerks, etc–are illustrated with amusing stories and observations...A witty and skillful account of those ‘idiots’ and ‘jerks’ that populate the lives of children."
Resource Links
"Contains numerous anecdotes that will amuse...As a read-aloud in preparation for a Science Fair I think this would be highly successful."
Quill & Quire
"A quirky, funny glimpse into the life and mind of a 13-year-old boy. Structured as a science report written by J.J., On a Scale from Idiot to Complete Jerk presents a narrative about human nature that middle-grade kids will find relatable, humorous, and genuine. Let’s face it, what kid wouldn’t love a book in which every other sentence bears the word “jerk”?...In addition to the unorthodox format, what makes this book work is its universal appeal. Young readers will enjoy J.J.’s stream-of-consciousness narration, his cheeky tone, and his efforts to convince his teacher that this is actually a science report when it’s anything but...Edmonton author Alison Hughes deserves an A+ for her smart, engaging middle-grade read."
National Reading Campaign blog
"The format of a science report with lots of case studies to dip into makes this an engaging read for kids who prefer non-fiction, as well as a lively read for those who like fiction. The material is lots of fun and often thought-provoking, J.J.’s voice is strong and the various observed behaviours are familiar to any one who has encountered an idiot or jerk or acted like one (i.e. all of us). Bravo, Alison Hughes! Bonus marks awarded."
Canadian Family Magazine
"A wonderfully cheeky and smart read."
Canadian Children's Book News
"J.J.'s descriptions will have readers not only laughing out loud but also reading passages aloud to whoever will listen—they are that funny."


CCBC Best Books  | 2014 | Commended

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