‘The Genius Files #2: Never Say Genius‘ by Dan Gutman continues the fun and hilarity of ‘The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable.’
Pepsi and Coke, enrolled in a secret program for geniuses, are still targeted for murder by the creator of the program, Dr. Herman Warsaw.
Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book, although Gutman seriously urges the readers to stop reading this sequel, “So get a copy of that book and read it. Then come back and start this one again. Go ahead. I’ll wait.“
But even Gutman has a heart. “Fine, don’t read ‘The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable.’ See if I care. Basically, this is what happened...” And he gives a lovely three-page synopsis. But reading it is certainly better than getting the abridged version. Really.
Pepsi and Coke are still on their cross-country trip with their parents. Their parents have rented an RV to take across the country to attend the wedding of their aunt. Their mother has not spoken with her sister for many years, and this is the first attempt at reconciliation.
On the way, their mother is (still) gathering information for her website, Amazing But True, where she includes a plethora of information about little-known museums and facts.
For example, one stop is the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. They also visit Des Plaines, Illinois, to see the site of the first McDonald’s restaurant. It is there that they are almost dipped into a vat of boiling oil.
They also visit Wrigley Field and attend a Cubs game (or part of a Cubs game — it’s cut short due to another attempt on their lives), and Mentone, Indiana to see the Egg Basket of the Midwest.
They eat at Tony Packo’s hot dog restaurant, where the walls are covered with plaques bearing hot dog buns autographed by famous people lilke Jerry Seinfeld, George W. Bush, Bing Crosby, and Patti LaBelle.
They head to Cedar Point, an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where they will be threatened with death yet again. On the way they stop at Avon, Ohio, which is the Duct Tape Capital of the World. A stop at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame leads to another attempt on their lives and they escape by sliding down the sloping glass building to safety.
They end up in Washington, D.C. and visit, (what else?), The Spy Museum. And finally, they are at their aunt’s wedding, where perhaps the biggest surprise awaits them. Don’t worry, their adventures aren’t over yet!
Gutman includes sidebars with how to follow the travels of the McDonald family using Google Maps or another navigation site like Rand McNally or MapQuest. He gives easy-to-follow directions and updates throughout the book. And, of course, the book is rife with the fabulous Gutman humor.
Visit Dan Gutman’s web site for more fun and information. This book is a great read-aloud, a great book for reluctant readers, and just a clever book for any reader from third grade through middle school.
This review is based on an uncorrected proof provided by the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s, for review purposes.