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The Fourteenth Goldfish [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Jennifer Holm

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26. August 2014
Believe in the possible . . . with this brilliantly quirky, thought-provoking novel from New York Times bestseller, three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
With a lighthearted touch and plenty of humor, Jennifer Holm celebrates the wonder of science and explores fascinating questions about life and death, family and friendship, immortality . . . and possibility.

"Awesomely strange and startlingly true-to-life. It makes you wonder what's possible." -- Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me




Publishers Weekly starred review, May 26, 2014:
“This is top-notch middle-grade fiction with a meaty dilemma, humor, and an ending that leaves room for the possibility of a sequel. “

Booklist starred review, July 1, 2014:
"A great choice for book groups and class discussions as well as individual reading."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 2014:
Holm’s writing is crisp, accessible, and well paced, and her enthusiasm for science and its impact emerges clearly and consistently but not overbearingly, with clear, appreciative nods to the world of theater and its purpose in our lives. Indeed, this novel explores weighty elements of human existence with a light touch, allowing readers to engage with the issues at multiple levels; an excellent appendix of recommended readings encourages exploration and dialogue. This novel would make an ideal classroom read aloud, particularly to expose students to the rich and rewarding STEM fields.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

JENNIFER L. HOLM's father was a pediatrician and she grew up listening to him talk about the wonder of antibiotics and how science could change the world. Today Jennifer is the NY Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor Books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse series (a 2013 Eisner Award Winner) and Squish series, which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  51 Rezensionen
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen "...Reverse Senescence Through Cellular Regeneration." 26. August 2014
Von Pop Bop - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
There are a lot of books and movies that turn on the old adult-kid switcheroo. Many are entertaining, but lots of them are slow to develop, are padded out in order to reach book/feature film length, can't settle on a tone, or wander around in search of a coherent plot to complement the premise. None of that is a problem here. It may sound odd, but this book struck me as mainly character driven.

Our heroine is a sharp, wry, engaging narrator. Grandfather is a wonderful melding of crotchety, obsessed and bemused. Supporting players have distinct personalities and are allowed room to shine, even in their cameos. The result is that instead of the author laboring mightily to move around the pieces of a cumbersome plot, we are treated to a shaggy dog story with a surplus of small insights, pithy observations, and wry insights; all of this in the company of an engaging cast of characters.

Despite the generally light treatment, we touch on family issues, school issues, peer and friendship issues and a number of other subjects of interest to the target readership. This is leavened by generous doses of humor and the interesting premise.

As if that weren't enough, the author makes a sincere and generally successful effort to make the story, ("...a cure for aging"), seem plausible in a way that will engage the scientific curiosity of a young reader. None of the story turns on magic or curses or other such easy MacGuffins. Rather, we are treated to bits and pieces of science fact and history that add another level of interest to an already interesting story.

It helps that the book takes off like a rocket. There is no coy teasing about who that teen stranger is. It's grandfather; now let's get on with story. This catapults us into the heart of the tale immediately, and doesn't try the patience of the young reader. That struck me as a sound story-telling strategy.

So, this impressed me as an ambitious but accessible book with honest, quirky appeal. I can see this book appealing to a wide range of young readers.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Good Book For The Target Age Group ... 6. Juli 2014
Von delicateflower152 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
"The Fourteenth Goldfish" is a book that children in the target age range should like. Jennifer Holm has combined several themes - the quest for the fountain of youth and that of an adult adjusting to living in a child's body and world without garnering unwelcome attention and questions - in the construction of this story. Quirky characters and some funny situations will appeal to youngsters' humor and to their sense of the absurd. As a result of experiences they have during the course of "The Fourteenth Goldfish", several characters learn a lesson or experience an epiphany.

The language used in "The Fourteenth Goldfish" is not complex and is appropriate for young readers or for a preschooler read-aloud selection. The first person narrative makes this book seem more "real" and not simply a made-up tale. The storyline is not so complex as to frustrate less skilled readers, but neither is it so simplistic as to bore advanced readers.

The positive light in which Jennifer Holm presented Ellie's budding interest in science is excellent. Readers may identify with Ellie, the eleven-year old protagonist, as they face some of the same challenges growing-up as Ellie does. Among other things, Nellie must deal with a single-working mother; the difficulty of having after-school care; changes in friendship as `tweens mature; an absent, noncustodial father; and the impact of science and research on society. Ellie's love of and respect for family shone throughout the pages of "The Fourteenth Goldfish". In several poignant passages, Ellie discovers the extent to which her grandfather misses deceased her grandmother.

This is a book that parents can feel comfortable reading to or giving to their children who are able to read themselves. Adults will find "The Fourteenth Goldfish" amusing. The target audience should like this book very much.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A big hit with my 10 year old son and me 25. Juli 2014
Von Jennifer Donovan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
My 10 year old son and I read this book aloud together. We often read books aloud, but the more we like them, the faster we get them read, because one or both of us says "Let's read one more chapter." We finished this one in under 2 weeks. That's fast for us on a read-aloud, because we are both busy with other interests and reading our own books. Sometimes it was him suggesting another chapter, other times it was me.

We both equally enjoyed this book. Why?

*scientific facts about scientists, in this case (which won't surprise fans of her Squish graphic novels)
*heartfelt family issues (which won't surprise fans of her works such as Turtle in Paradise) such as adult parent/child relationships and a "broken" family (specifically I loved that in the divorced family the parents still got along well and even hung out and co-parented, which perfectly describes my own family of origin)
*school issues like the changes of friends that inevitably occur during adolescence and figuring out your interests and talents
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Kids Will See Science and Life Through Brand New Eyes 30. August 2014
Von DawnTeresa - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
First, let's talk about the cover. Let's face it, goldfish and test tubes just aren't all that attractive. Now that I've read the novel, I can appreciate the cover art, but it didn't draw me in. My anticipation of reading this was tempered by the title and cover. However, since the author's reputation precedes her, I was undeterred. I've never met a Jennifer L. Holm book I didn't love, and The Fourteenth Goldfish is no exception.

Now, let's talk about the book! Ellie and Melvin are some of the most interesting people I've met in a while. Ellie's life is in flux. Sixth grade isn't going so well since her best friend is slowly becoming her ex-best friend. Things get even weirder one night when her mother comes home with a teenage boy who bears a strong resemblance to her grandfather, Melvin. Turns out he is her grandfather Melvin, a scientist who has devoted years of research to searching for the fountain of youth -- and, evidently, he's found it.

Holm has a talent for characterization, and she's crafted some doozies with Ellie and Melvin. Melvin ranks high on my list of coolest grandfathers ever. Given that he's at once a cantankerous old man and a teenager who marches to his own drum, he occupies a place all his own. It's interesting how advanced age creates a non-conformist, individualist attitude that translates into a bizarrely funny yet totally awesome form of swagger. This can be seen in Melvin's fearless fashion sense. Throughout the course of the book, he wears anything from miniature versions of old-man polyester pants, Ellie's pink ponytail holder, and, when he has nothing clean, he even dips into his "mother's" closet.

Ellie's a smart girl in a completely believable way. She's not a geek or a prodigy, but she's always felt a little out of step since her parents -- who've split, albeit amicably -- are both artistic, creative types. When Melvin comes into her life, she discovers that she does share family traits after all. Turns out she likes to cook, and Melvin shows her how things like food and cooking are actually everyday science. He opens her eyes to the possibilities contained in science and the passionate way that scientists question the world around them. In science, Melvin explains, failure is nothing to fear. It's failure that results in answers that can eventually lead to breakthroughs. And scientists are willing to risk failure attempting to prove that what others may believe impossible is, in actuality, possible.

The characters who inhabit the pages of The Fourteenth Goldfish are so alive that suspension of disbelief at the far-fetched premise never presents a problem. Indeed, you accept these people and their world with such alacrity that you allow yourself to become completely submerged. Thematically, Holm manages to defy gravity, using humor to make weighty topics like the ethical ramifications of science and the potential downside when it pushes those limits seem light as a feather. Kids will happily plunge in with Ellie as she discovers her passion and gains both new friends and a deeper understanding of the circle of life. And until they turn the last page, they'll not likely want to come up for air!

Verdict: 4.5 of 5 hearts. A Uniquely Humorous and Human Breakthrough Victory For Science. With its combination of strong characterization and easy humor, Jennifer L. Holm's latest work, The Fourteenth Goldfish, will have kids -- even girls -- seeing science and life through brand new eyes.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Books For Young Readers for providing me access to this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Great messages for middle grade readers, encouraging imagination and curiosity 3. September 2014
Von Aurania - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

"Endings are sad....but beginnings are exciting."

This is one of those books I was invited to read via Netgalley. When I received the invitation, I did not realize this was a middle grade book, so that revelation was rather surprising. This was a cute book with lots of great messages for middle grade readers, but it definitely requires a great suspension of disbelief (probably much easier for the intended audience to do).

Ellie is eleven and about to enter middle school. At the start of the book, her mother is called away to pick up her grandfather, who has been arrested for trespassing. This is where it enters a bit of a sci-fi realm. Ellie's grandfather, Melvin, is a scientist and he finally had a breakthrough with his latest research project - reverse aging. Unfortunately, the project worked a little too well, as he now appears to be a 13-year-old boy. Now he has to live with Ellie and her mother and attend school with her, despite that he possesses the mind of a 70-something year-old man.

As an adult reader, the premise gave me pause if only because Ellie's mother did not seem to have any reaction whatsoever to her father's dramatic change. No one questioned it at all. The few people he told simply accepted it. Then the little subplot about his lab and the company he worked for, there were some holes there - why did no one wonder where he had gone? How could no one know of this research, etc?

But those are questions an adult might ask, and this is not a book for adults. Poking holes in this fantastical story misses the point.

In actuality, these ideas go along with one of the book's themes - believe in the possible. When imparting wisdom upon a middle grade reader, it's important to encourage imagination and "the [im]possible", so as to fuel new ideas and dreams.

Ellie's parents are both very theatrical and interested in drama and theater, but Ellie has never had much interest in that subject. They tell her to find her passion, but, like many parents, suggest that she should be passionate about their passion - theater. I thought it was a great message to send to kids that they find their own passions in life, regardless of what their parents love.

Enter Melvin, who doesn't have much use for theater, but is a big fan of science. Through their interactions, Ellie learns about a whole world she's never been exposed to, and she finds her passion in it.

It was very clever for Holm to use Melvin as a way not only to unlock Ellie's passion for science, but also as a way for Ellie to realize that there is so much that her elders can offer - friendship, knowledge, wisdom - that she might otherwise ignore (because let's face it, western kids tend to write off their elders as, well, old). Making Melvin appear her age really gave her a way to relate to him so she could hear his messages. In other words, elders are interesting and should be revered, not ignored. After all, they aren't so different than the rest of us, even if they appear different on the outside.

Also of interest was the idea that the old can still learn from the young. As Ellie becomes more interested in science and starts reading about famous scientists and their inventions on her own, she develops some critical thinking skills and starts to contemplate the wisdom of some scientific advancements. That is, just because we can do something, does that mean we should?

The story also had some themes involving change - the change from elementary school, where you know everyone, to middle school, where you are introduced to loads of new students you've never met; and the ways in which lifelong friendships change as the young discover new interests and grow apart.

The quote above, that endings are sad, but beginnings are exciting, encapsulates the main theme within the book. For a middle school aged child, this is a very important lesson to learn because that age is so full of endings and beginnings.

Lovely book, with cute characters and great, positive themes. It was a very quick read and is probably best suited for grade school and middle school readers. Probably a little too sweet and young for high school aged kids.
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