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STAR JUMPER by Frank Asch


Journal of a Cardboard Genius

by Frank Asch

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-55337-886-5
Publisher: Kids Can

Play and reality merge (maybe) in this tale of a lad seeking total escape—as in a flight to the far end of the universe—from an aggressive, worshipful little brother. Despite continual interference from his first-grade–aged nemesis Jonathan, Alex crafts a spaceship in his room from cardboard boxes and found household materials, then goes on after a test ride into space to invent a Micro-Blaster (for protection) and a Duplicator (so he’ll have agreeable companions on his new planet) from like items. Complications ensue when he inadvertently shrinks Jonathan down to the size of a bug, and later, leaves the Duplicator unguarded—but in the end, Alex’s attitude mellows after a rousing bedroom melee, and the discovery that little brothers make useful pretexts for going to a movie that a certain attractive classmate also happens to be attending. Continually whining about his sibling’s behavior and congratulating himself on his own genius, Alex comes across as no prize himself, but there’s enough wish fulfillment here to put readers on his side—whether or not that Micro-Blaster really works. (Fiction. 9-11)