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The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,622 Ratings  ·  189 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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Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julian Calendar is off for his first day at a new school when his mother cheerfully suggests, " . . . just be yourself, and you'll make lots of friends!" Julian was himself at his last school, and was picked on for being a nerd. This time around, he's determined to fit in. He professes to enjoy "hanging out" at the local mall and watching sports on TV all in an effort to make friends. Too bad he almost blows it by being caught reading a book in the cafeteria. But one day, when the teacher is tal ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, middle-grade
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.
Nancy Kotkin
Story: 4 stars
Art: 5 stars

Three science-loving kids form a secret club to design and create inventions. That concept, while not new, is really well-executed in this children's graphic novel. With prototypes of their inventions, the kids battle it out with an evil adult villain who has stolen their inventors' notebook. Plot is predictable, and moves somewhat slowly in the first half of the book. Detailed art takes up the slack where the story drags in places. While the characters are stereotypes
Dov Zeller
This is so wildly different from Davis's adult comics it's wonderful to see her breadth in terms of style and storytelling. And this is a fun little book. A bit predictable, as many gr reviewers have pointed out, and kind of Scooby Doo silly in moments, and yet, also wonderfully, er, inventive.

I tend to appreciate the message that being an outsider in a particular school or other specific context/temporary location, doesn't mean you'll be an outsider forever. And I also appreciate another messa
Arsh M
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janet by: Deirdre Sayre, Kerry Steinberg
Delightfully inventive and really clever, this is just the right book for creative kids, retired scientists, fans of adventure, lovers of colorful art, and more. I need to write a better review later, because I LOVE this. I'm not sure why I took so long to actually read it.
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
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
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
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
Oct 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun - with lots of science/ inventor tie ins. My ultra sciencey sons both inhaled it and insisted I read.
Kris Marley Patrick
Jan 19, 2017 marked it as abandoned
I don't do microscopic print
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
A fantastic graphic novel for science-minded readers. Reminds me of Disney's Kim Possible show.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's hard to find books that have a great message but don't hit you over the head with it.

And I think this book has a great take on, be yourself, it's okay to be smart in a fun middle grade graphic novel.

Recommended for your 7-12 year old.

Of course, I enjoyed it, and I'm 45.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel is a great story about science and friendship. This will appeal to young readers with its bright, dynamic pictures and fun cast of characters.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
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
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
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
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, graphic-novel

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
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
Shawn Thrasher
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
"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
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Julian Calendar is a typical middle school nerd. He's undersized, flatfooted, athletically challenged, but academically excels. When he gets the opportunity to move to a new school he attempts to make a fresh start, only to find friends, and enemies, in unlikely places.

Author, and illustrator, Eleanor Davis has a fun style, full of entertaining details and clues that help a careful reader pick up on plot twists before they happen. Her diverse cast provides the opportunity to show that intelligen
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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...

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