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Top Secret Paperback – October 1, 1995

37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Reynolds Gardiner was born on December 6, 1944 in Los Angeles, California. Gardiner was told in high school that his grammar and spelling were so poor that he would never do well in college English. He didn't even read his first novel until he was 19. Gardiner also has a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of California in Los Angeles. He has written a number of other books as well, including Stone Fox and General Butterfingers.

Marc Simont is an artist, political cartoonist, and illustrator of more than a hundred children's books. Simont and his wife live in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316303631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316303637
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Molly Grue on November 3, 2004
Format: Turtleback
When Allen Brewster, a fourth grader, decides to discover human photosynthesis for his school science project, his irritable teacher, Miss Green, calls his idea ridiculous and assigns a lipstick project instead. His parents are kind but unsupportive, but Allen is undeterred, especially when his tender and wise grandfather encourages him to pursue his research. Allen discovers that the biggest difference between hemoglobin and chlorophyll is that the former contains iron while the latter contains magnesium, so he decides to ingest foods that contain high levels of magnesium. He mixes salt water from an aquarium with peanut butter, Coco-Puffs, raw liver, and Mexican refried beans, runs the mixture through a blender, and drinks it. (Kids, don't try this at home!) After tinkering with his formula, he discovers that his skin has turned green, his taste buds have disappeared, he doesn't need to eat, and he craves sunlight. But then Allen faces numerous new obstacles. No one but his grandfather believes that he has discovered human photosynthesis. He gets aphids and starts sprouting roots. His crabby teacher ejects him from class and tells him not to come back until he looks like a normal human being. And once the government confirms that Allen has succeeded in discovering human photosynthesis, his project is classified as top secret, because it is a threat to national security! Will Allen ever be permitted to return to school? What will he do about the science fair? Will his nasty teacher ever get her comeuppance? This fast paced, funny book is very amusing, engaging, and highly recommended for reluctant readers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DAKKAK on May 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was an extraordinary book about a kid named Allen Brewster. First, he had to go to school. Then his teacher Miss Greene makes her class do a science project for the science fair. Meanwhile Miss Greene makes Allen do it on lipstick because she thinks human photosythesis is imposible even though she has no reason why it's imposible. The next day Allen goes to the library to reasearch on human photosythesis and he discovers the ingredients to turning himself into a plant. He goes home and mixes the ingredients and drinks the formula. Next he wakes up and his skin is green. After that his mom takes him to school and Miss Greene thinks Allen has sray paint on. The they call his mom and Allen can't go back to school until he's not green. His mom said,"he could walk home." When he's walking home he passes by the newspaper building and tells the guy about him being a plant because his parents don't belive him only his grandpop does and he wants to prove to his parents that he is a plant. Now the presedint comes and he is trying to stop world starvation. And Allen's human photosythesis works to stop that. If you want to find out more you have to read TOP SECRET.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Top Secret is a very interesting yet funny book. The characters are amazingly funny. Have you ever heard of HUMAN PHOTOSYNTHESIS? Well you will now! Read this book and you'll find the best science project. Please read this book. P.S. Say that this is a useful review!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book to my science kids every year. It touches on several science concepts that leads into specific topics in my science classroom as well as a few life skills. The kids love the book and usually don't want me to stop reading for the day.

In the beginning of the story the boy has to decide on a topic for his science fair project. Thus begins the struggle of him vs the teacher. He thinks he has the best possible topic and the teacher does not. Even though the teacher assigns him a different topic, he proceeds to do his on "Human Photosynthesis." After researching the topic of photosynthesis, he develops a concoction he feels surely will create human photosynthesis. He is his only guinea pig and the adventure begins. It is a story with him (and his grandpa) against everyone else. You will just need to read the book to find out how even the president of the USA gets involved.

Several class discussion both science related and about life can come about from this book. Thus it is an excellent read aloud and resource for critical thinking.
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A Kid's Review on May 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Human Photosynthesis! Thats Allen Brewsters great but wacky idea.
Allens mean science teacher Ms. Green wants him to do a project on lipstick. But Allen is still going to do his project on human photsynthesis. Will he flunk or solve the mystery?
How is he going to do it and why? Join the story of Allen Brewster in Top Secret by John Renolds Gardiner.
I recomend this book to science fiction lovers and people who want a good mystery. I liked this book because I love science fiction.
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By Linda D. on September 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I just read this book aloud to my 4th grade class and they loved predicting what would happen next. The events of each chapter are exciting and often humorous. It also happened to tie to our plant study in science since Allen believes he has solved the mystery of human photosynthesis!
The one thing my class didn't like was the ending-they are calling for a sequel. They plan to write to Gardiner to ask for a follow-up. What happens to Miss Green? What happens to Allen?
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By A Customer on February 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
The book is about a boy named Allen Brewster and how he has a big problem!Allen is 9 years old and he wants to solve the mystery human photosynthesis.Allen had to do a science project.When Allen tells Miss Green,science teacher he wants to do his science project on human photo synthesis. Noone believes that he can do it. With the help of the president, Allen proves that he can, but then the information is Top Secret.
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