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The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,947 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Super-smart Julian Calendar thinks starting junior high at a new school will mean he can shed his nerdy image-but then he meets Ben and Greta, two secret scientists like himself! The three form a secret club, complete with a high-tech lair. There, they can work to their hearts content on projects like the Stink-O-Meter, the Kablovsky Copter, and the Nightsneak Goggles.

Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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A humble suggestion:

If you see this book, open it up, flip through it. The sheer amount of creativity and inventiveness is stunning. Eleanor Davis (creator of last year’s Geisel Honor-winning easy reader graphic novel Stinky) takes ideas that have been done before, adds elements that are brand new, churns it all through her imagination, and creates an highly detailed graphic novel that makes most others look half-baked. In doing so Davis proves herself as a talent to watch. The result is a wildl
Aug 28, 2009 Betsy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: John Peters
You know a book’s gotta be good when the first thought that enters your brain after reading it is, “I bet this took the author YEARS and YEARS to finish!” If you’re reading a novel then it’s probably a good bet you thought that because the story is long and convoluted. But if you think it about a graphic novel, there’s really only one reason for that. It must be heavily detailed, complicated, well written, and intense. Meet The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook then. A little book th ...more
This would probably be a big hit with science-minded middle grade readers. I liked it well enough, for the sheer energy and imagination that's in abundance on virtually every page. But for me, the story was a bit predictable, and the characters were a bit thin. Not even remotely a bad book, but not great, not for me.
Arsh M
I am curently reading The Secret Science Alliance. I am at the part where Stringer steals Juilan,Ben,and Greta's notebook filled with blueprints of
inventions that thay thought of. I think me and Ben have some in common like we both like basketball and like to build stuff.I think the theme of this book is to be who you are and eventuality someone will like you because Juilan was trying to be athletic to get friends but he did so he stuck to being himself and got 2 amazing friends. I think the aut
Prince William Public Library System
Eleven-year-old Julian Calendar is tormented by his classmates because he wears giant glasses, is rotten at sports, and loves science and math. When his family moves to a new city, Julian sees it as a chance to hide his nerdiness and try to fit in with one of the popular cliques at his new school. His attempt to reinvent himself isn’t very successful, but his prospects start to improve when he receives a coded message inviting him to join a mysterious club. With his new friends in the Secret Sci ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Genius Julian is psyched to start a new school. He has a plan called “Operation Act Odinary” to finally be someone other than the smart nerd. On the first day of school he resists raising his hand and exclaims, “Only geeks like chess. I hate chess!” On the second day he can hardly stand it and eventually blurts out a complicated physics answer and immediately earns the nicknames “Einstein” and “Brainiac.” He’s the smart kid again and he’s really bummed!

What Julian doesn’t know is that there are
I love Eleanor Davis's comics & artwork. She knows how to tell a story. As someone who knows her through her more "adult" work, I was curious how she would tackle a children's story and was excited to see this book at my local library.

Overall, I thought the story was good, albeit simple and a bit predictable. I liked the characters and can definitely see this being the beginning of a series in which the three main characters and their families become more fully developed. I was hoping for so
Melissa Mcavoy
Age Range: from 7-? The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook has everything going for it: whiz-bang plot with intricate details, super-cool and super-nerdy characters, dozens of awesome kid-inventions, one of the best hideout laboratories ever and an insanely inventive and tireless illustrator whose graphic strengths and story-telling skills are boundless. Eleven year-old Julian Calendar’s move gives him a second chance at junior-high. Trying to avoid being pegged for a nerd, Julian str ...more
This is a fun graphic novel celebrating science and invention - I know, sounds odd. Julian Calendar would really like to avoid being labeled as a nerd at his new school. Even as he struggles to keep his smarts hidden, two unexpected allies appear. Together, they form the Secret Science Alliance, complete with secret lair. When their inventions are stolen by a copycat scientist, they put their gadgets into action. Great characters, lots of nerdy scienceness, but still action packed and sure to en ...more
Mattathias Westwood
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think it's the best junior graphic novel that I've read so far this year.

The Secret Science Alliance begins with Julian Calender, who is the prototypical nerd-- he looks nerdy, he talks nerdy, and he thinks very nerdy. His great hero is the inventor Arno Kablovsky. By the time he starts jr. high, he's figured out that loving math has not won him the respect of his peers, and so when his family moves to a new town, he devises a plan to appear normal.

The pl
Lenise Jones
Davis, Eleanor (2009). The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Book.
Cybil Award 2009 Winner Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Graphic Fiction
Junior Project
Great graphic fiction novel for junior readers! The author’s use of bright, colorful illustrations make it easy for the reader to follow along, even if they do not understand some of the words. This is a graphic novel about a young boy who gets a second chance at a new school to try to fit in. Julian is
I love a museum caper and I enjoyed this vividly illustrated graphic novel. The characters are smart and have more depth than I would have expected. It was really a fun read. However, I did not like that some of the speech bubbles were obscured by other graphics. I could read enough to know what the obscured bubble was all about but it was nevertheless annoying. Readers of graphic novels such as Bone, Bionicle, Hardy Boys, etc., should enjoy this one.
i love this story. i love the adventure and the suspense. the way julian is afraid of showing his dorkiness at first, then learns to show people who you really are. his two friends who at first he thought were nothings turned out to be his best friends. i just LOVE this book.
Fun - with lots of science/ inventor tie ins. My ultra sciencey sons both inhaled it and insisted I read.
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis (2009)
Graphic Book, 154 pages
Julian Calendar is an 11-year-old junior high student who has trouble fitting in. He looks 8 years old, wears a hand-me-down pink flowered backpack from his mother, and most importantly, is a genius inventor. When his parents tell him that they are going to move to a new town, Julian jumps at a second chance to spark his social life and fit in. At his new school, Julian attempts to be “ordinary” by ha
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: Cybils nomination. I also read and enjoyed Davis' first children's graphic novel, Stinky.

Summary: Every day Julian Calendar is teased at school for being nerdy and smart. Then one day his family tells him they are moving and Julian is delighted; he can start all over again. His first day at the new junior high he pretends to be everything he is not but it's not that easy and he slips up in class and let's his brains show. He is secretly contacted by two fellow brainiac invent
"And in any endeavor, confidence is the most important tool you can have."

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook starts with Julian Calendar, a self proclaimed outward nerd and interior ultra nerd. He takes the changing of schools as a fresh start and institutes "Operation: Act Ordinary." The Operation doesn't go very well and it isn't long before Julian crosses paths with bad girl Greta and "dumb" jock Ben. These stereotypes are quickly blown away and inventor high jinx ensue in an a
Christine Ummel  Hosler
Eleven-year-old genius Julian Calendar (get it?) tries to hide his intelligence in order to fit in at his new junior high, until he’s confronted by two other students who are just as obsessed with science and engineering as he is. The threesome join forces as the Secret Science Alliance, collaborating on their inventions in a high-tech underground workshop.

The girl in the group is Greta, a fearless eccentric who intimidates even the toughest boys in the school. She continually wears a bike helme
Danielle Larca
Julian Calendar is getting the second chance he always dreamed of. He gets to start over at a new school where no one knows he’s a huge nerd. During “Operation: Act Ordinary”, Julian must pretend he doesn’t know the answer to every question his teachers ask and that he loves sports. The plan works well…for about a week. Julian lets a complicated explanation of aerodynamics slip out during history class and the jig is up. Now he’ll never be popular.

But then he gets a secret coded note that will c
W.H. Beck
Out of the huge stack of books my boys collected at the ALA conference last week, this was the very first one that Mr. E (10) picked up and devoured. I know why. With science gadgets you wish were real, a secret club with a way cool hideout/lab in a hidden basement, and three underdog kids saving the world from an evil genius--all told in a graphic novel format by the creator of the Geisel-honor Stinky, no less--it basically screams "boy book!" But even better, it lived up to all Mr. E's expecta ...more

Davis, Eleanor. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook (2009)
Julian is a nerd complete with glasses, a hand-me-down backpack from his mother, and orthopedic shoes. He’s also super smart and for all of these reasons, he’s picked on by the kids at his school. When he discovers he is moving, he feels like he is getting a second chance to fit in and deliberately plays dumb at his new school. This is harder than it sounds. Julian just can’t stop himself from looking and sounding smart. Sur
Shawn Thrasher
I liked the first half of this book - and I liked the second half of the book as well. (Artwork aside - I never feel like I'm knowledgeable enough to judge, I just know what I like and what I don't like, and I liked the classic-feeling illustrations in this immensely). But the connections between both halves were sort of tenuous. The first half - what could be called an origin story, I guess - is a very cute look at the life of Julian Calendar (ha ha - his sister and brother are named Gregory an ...more
Genre: Junior, Graphic Novel


A band of three students find they have a common enemy and pursue him to secure the return of a valuable notebook he has stolen. In endeavoring to regain the notebook, the three set off on a wild set of adventures, helping each other along the way and creating fantastic inventions.

Constructed as a graphic novel, this book is a colorful, action packed tale that gives the reader a wealth of dialogue and visual resources to interact with the story. Each of the th
The super intelligent Julian Calendar is ecstatic when he finds out that his family is moving because his father is being transferred. He wants to leave school because he doesn't fit in. He detests being thought of as a 'nerd' by all of his classmates and he thinks that he can start fresh at a new school. He soon finds that he has the same problem at the new school. He is desperate to be just like everyone else, so he pretends not to be smart. What everyone else doesn't know is that Julian is a ...more
Davis, E. (2009). The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. New York: Bloomsbury.

150 pages.

Appetizer: Eleven-year-old Julian is excited to transfer to a new school, hoping that instead of being seen as a nerd by the other students that he can be seen as normal. Julian's plan doesn't quite work out as he planned and he receives an encoded note to join The Secret Science Alliance.

The three alliance members enjoy designing and tinkering with many new inventions in their secret underground
This was simply amazing! AMAZING. One of my favorite comics of all time.

Sure, it's whimsical. Not really realistic. But ever since WHEN has graphic novels ever been totally ordinary and totally boring? (okay, about the boring part, ...there are some that have knocked a few yawns out of me, but that's not for the majority of them!)

Here's the thing: I love the idea of loving science, but I do not love science. I think that's a case for a lot of people. Who wouldn't want to be able to invent so m
Things the grown-up me liked about SSA:
- the character of Ben. So sympathetic, this genius-minded boy who thinks he's stupid because he cannot spell well or take tests. I'd like to see him discover more about why he has those difficulties, maybe gain some insight so he can make changes and boost his self-esteem.
- Julian finds a bit of self-worth for himself, as well, and learns to embrace his nerdiness.
- Greta already has a solid sense of self-worth, and a big ol' bunch of it. Confident girl
Sarah Sammis
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis won the 2009 Cybils award in the middle grade graphic novels category. It's the story of Julian Calendar coming to a new school and hoping to fit in by being one of the cool kids. Unfortunately he's a diehard geek and he's decided the way to gain friends is to act stupid and uninterested school.

This time though, things are different and not because Julian is successfully pretending to be an average student. Two other classmates h
When Julian's family moves to a new town, Julian finds that he doesn't just want to be just a nobody, so he says he likes sports and other stuff to fit in. But Julian loves science and he is pretty much a genius. What he doesn't know is the class rebel Greta loves science and so does Ben who is loved for playing sports. They form the Secret Science Alliance and when they find out that a well known and respected scientist, not only is stealing their ideas but he is also planning a robbery. They t ...more
Julian, a bit of a nerd, gets a chance to start over at a new school and desperately tries to hide the fact that he knows all the answers. Ben is a smart jock but lacks confidence in his intellectual abilities. And Greta is a smart-as-a-whip girl who constantly wears a bike helmet on her fabulous hair. The three eventually realizes that they are all passionate inventors and form the Secret Science Alliance. Adventures and inventions keep them busy for the rest of the book.

I really liked this gra
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My name is Eleanor Davis. I’m a cartoonist and illustrator. A collection of my short comics for adults, How To Be Happy, is out now from Fantagraphics Books. I have two graphic novels for kids: The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook (2009) which I created with my husband Drew Weing, and the easy-reader Stinky (2008). I live in Athens, Georgia.

Clients include: The New Yorker, The New Yor
More about Eleanor Davis...
Stinky How To Be Happy Flop to the Top!: TOON Level 3 Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists The Best American Comics 2008

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