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Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It Hardcover – October 9, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385734395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385734394
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,811,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mixed-race Brendan Buckley is fascinated by science, and he likes to find the answers to questions that he poses in his notebook. Brendan finds that life isn’t alwaus easily explained, however, after he meets his grandfather for the first time at a rock club meeting. Brendan’s white grandfather has been estranged from Brendan’s mother since her marriage to an African American. Despite Brendan’s mixed parentage, he bonds with his grandfather through their shared interest in rock collecting, and they continue to meet secretly until Brendan’s mother finds out. It takes time and a serious accident for Brendan’s grandfather to come to his senses and reunite with his family. By frequently lightening her tone, Frazier delivers her messages without using an overly heavy hand. Brendan is a real kid with a passion for science and also a willingness to push his parents’ rules; he’s not just a placard for the author’s central message. Grades 4-6. --Todd Morning

Review

"Brendan is an appealing character with a sense of honor...A good, accessible selection to inspire discussion of racism and prejudice." -- Kirkus Reviews (September 15, 2007)

"Frazier writes affectingly about what being biracial means in a 21st century America." -- School Library Journal (September 2007)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
I really enjoyed the story myself and fell in love with the characters.
Jonathan Ball
In fact, he's the kind of character you really miss when a book is finished (I'd like to meet him in person!).
More rain, please.
I love the strong message of the importance of family and loving each other regardless of race.
Book Lover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ERumma on December 4, 2007
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book. I loved it! I felt like I was in the characters' world. It's like they are people I now know. I miss them already. Frazier does a great job developing her characters. My favorite characters are Brendan and Gladys, his grandmother.

I can't wait to read it with my sons or have them read it themselves. I look forward to the good discussions we'll have about it. I could see it being read in a 4th/5th grade classroom to open a discussion about prejudice and racism, which I think is very important to do. Frazier handles the fragile issues of racism and family in a way that you have sympathy for all who are involved.

To balance out the more serious issues, there are many humorous moments that kids would relate to and laugh outloud about. I highly recommend tis book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Welch on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. Brendan is a terrific character, and I am waiting for the sequel to find out what happens next. I found myself relating to the way he experiences the world, and admiring the decisions and choices he makes. The story is extremely engaging, filled with laugh out loud moments. Its also poignant and heart wrenching, and I shed some tears while reading this on an airplane.

I was at a reading event for this book, and the kids in the audience were extremely interested in the excerpts read aloud. They all laughed at some of the funnier moments, and seemed really interested in Brendan's hobbies - rock collecting and TAE KWON DO.

This was such a rich story, and I recommend it highly.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brendan Buckley is into Tae Kwon Do and studying rocks. He would love to be a scientist and faithfully keeps a notebook with important questions and findings. During the summer, Brendan plans on becoming a rock collector. And he is trying to adjust to losing his best fishing buddy, Grandpa Clem.

When looking at a mineral and gemstone exhibit, he meets a man who has awesome rocks and who knows a TON about rocks and minerals. His Grandma Gladys sees the man and yanks Brendan away. Well, what are the odds of this? That man was actually his other grandpa. A man he had never met. And is told to never see again.

Although Brendan doesn't really want to disobey his parents, he wants to know this mystery man. Maybe he could help fill the void left by Grandpa Clem's death. Maybe this other grandpa could teach him about rocks. Maybe he could get to know him and find out why his mom has nothing to do with him.

As Brendan sets out to get to know this man, he has no idea what kind of trouble he may be stirring up.

Sundee T. Frazier has created a likable young boy with unique interests and love for his family. Readers will enjoy his adventures and see past generations with new awareness.

Reviewed by: Dianna Geers
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED Brendan Buckley for many reasons. First of all, when I met the character Gladys I laughed until I nearly cried because she was such a spunky old woman. And then I was curious about Brendan's grandfather because of the way he acted toward Brendan. Khalfani was such a funny character! I was very disgusted in Chapter 8 when Brendan and Khalfani had a little "contest" about something that shouldn't be spoken of here.

I would recommend this to people who like comedy, tae kwon do, and kid scientists. Five stars out of five because of its comedy and it made me feel like I had to believe in family and sticking together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By More rain, please. on November 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brendan is both likable and complex, which is always a good combination in a protagonist. In fact, he's the kind of character you really miss when a book is finished (I'd like to meet him in person!). I especially like that when he faces an important question, Brendan takes action (sometimes even the drastic kind) to find an answer and when he uncovers something that he senses is wrong (in the world or even in himself), he doesn't rest until it's made right. The themes of family, race, and forgiveness are all poignant. Plus, there's a lot of fun in this book. A worthy read for kids and adults alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything In It is a good book. It is a really good story because it is funny, it has exciting things happen and it is suspensful. My favorite part of the story is one of his experiments. I tried it. You should read it and try it too. It also made me want to do Tae Kwon Do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Palosaari VINE VOICE on March 15, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Disclaimer: I am personally acquainted with the author.

This is a well-written book that accurately targets its age level. Everything wraps up tidily, though not easily. Sundee has an amazing ability to get into the head of a young boy. If I didn't know better, from reading this, I'd think she'd been a young boy. Her characterization is that good, and that accurate.

All pervading the scene is an underlying theme of lies and truth, connected to the healing of racial divisions. In Brendan Buckley's universe, lies lead to more lies; truth and openness lead to healing. This is clear even as Brendan relates the scientific method (another strong and laudable underlying theme). Brendan details every point of the method- accepting the final one, reporting the results in a peer-reviewed journal. The lack of this final step is telling; it is the truth-telling and sharing of science, by which the scientific community is sustained and information shared and confirmed. At that point in the story Brendan has not yet realized the importance of this final step, though he pursues everything else in science as the foundation of his life.

Sundee writes for her audience with depth and insight. Children, especially boys, ages 10-13 should in particular enjoy this book, and those biracial or bicultural will particularly learn more about how to approach life and relationships in a healthy and loving manner.
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