Today we begin another Spotlight Week—about a year in the making. I’ll fill you in on the amusing details later, but for now, a short version should suffice.
I first met author Michael Reisman at the West Hollywood Bookfair last year and immediately fell in love—
With his books!
As soon as I read the back covers of both books, I knew I would have another item to my Favorite Book Series List.
In book one, Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper , the reader is introduced to eleven-year old Simon Bloom and his quirky friends Owen and Alysha. A strange breeze lures them into the mysterious Dunkerhook Woods, hidden at the very edge of their small town. Something falls out of the sky and lands on Simon’s head—it is a textbook unlike any other. The Teacher’s Edition of Physics gives Simon the ability to manipulate the rules of Physics through the understanding of specific formulas. Simon has always dreamed of being able to fly, and so the first law he changes, is the law of Gravity. He also learns how to manipulate friction. His friends also get in on the action. Owen, who has the habit of speaking stupendously-long-sentences-that-they-have-to-be-written-in-dashes, learns to control kinetic energy; while smart, mouthy, and always cool Alysha learns how to control electricity.
But with great powers come great responsibility—and great trouble. Tattoo-covered, megalomaniac Sirabetta discovers Simon has the Book and stops at nothing to relieve him of it. Simon, Owen and Alysha, aided by Ralphagon Wintrofline, Head of the Order of Physics, and Flangelo Squicconi, member of the Order of Biology, go on an action-packed and thrilling adventure that changes their lives and their view of the world forever.
Book two, Simon Bloom: The Octopus Effect, takes place 5 months after Simon, Owen and Alysha have become members of the Physics Guild. Simon has been elected as Co-Keeper of the Teacher’s Edition of Physics and shares its safekeeping with Ralphagon Wintrofline, Head of the Order of Physics. Things are going smoothly for the friends, until the Order of Science decides that there can be only one Keeper of the Book.
And just to further complicate their lives, Sirabetta, now in the body of an irate 13 year old, escapes to the undersea domes that houses the Order of Biology. Simon and his friends follow her there. They go on another action-packed adventure through a series of mind-bending landscapes, making both new allies and new enemies in their adventures. Through it all, they learn about the laws of biology, gaining new powers and increasing confidence in their abilities to manipulate the laws of Physics.
There are so many aspects of the books to love.
The concept of the mysterious Union, which holds the secrets to manipulating the entire Universe in its many Teacher’s Edition Books is at once fascinating and absorbing. Various Orders within the Union are responsible for overseeing the workings of Physics, Biology, Chemistry and other sciences in the universe.
Making the humorous tone of the book possible, is an all-seeing, bathrobe-wearing, pizza-eating, English narrator whose only job in life is to report, and comment on the three children’s adventures. Employed by the mysterious Union, the Narrator isn’t supposed to do anything but observe—but he later on finds himself befriending and perhaps even aiding the kids themselves.
The weird and sometimes confusing and often tongue-twisting character names (Ralphagon Wintrofline, Mermon Veenie, Flangelo Squicconi) only add to the tone of wit and humor with which the entire book is written.
But humor, wit, and a healthy dose of ironic sarcasm, are not the only things that make this book awesome. The story’s pacing is fast, and plot itself is inventive and creative, and packed with enough action and adventure to keep video game-addicted boys hooked.
As a fan of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I was happy that Michael Reisman mentioned the books in his acknowledgements and even gave it a cameo appearance in his own books.
While all of these aspects make the books itself a worthy read, what I really love about them is that they introduce scientific concepts to children and make them look cool. Michael Reisman has done parents and teachers a favor by making science fun and intriguing. Anyone who reads the books will instantly find their interest in Physics and Biology peaking.
This is a series I would definitely recommend to both Science Fiction/Fantasy and adventure lovers alike. I am (along with many other fans) crossing my fingers in the hopes that the third book comes out soon.
Drop by again on Thursday for an interview with Simon Bloom Author Michael Reisman.
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