Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Spotlight: ESPete - Sixth Grade Sense by Arnold Rudnick

Talents are something that everyone wants and hopes to use to achieve their goals. But, what would you do if you were a sixth grade kid who can read minds, know things that might happen before they do and even figure out how to stop someone from thinking you are going to help them cheat on a test? Well! What a great feat that would be!

“ESP is sometimes called, the sixth sense because it is extra beyond our normal senses as Loyd Auerbach, MS shares in the forward of this book. He defines telepathy, Clairvoyance and Precognition and helps readers understand the kids are often more psychic than adults. Meet Peter Powell ad sixth grader who will surprise, mystify and definitely make you wonder: But, first think of a number between one and 100 before reading this book. You’ll learn why at the end. I did and was pleasantly surprised.

Peter Powell can read minds. Eleven years old and definitely smart, astute and knows exactly when to use his talents. Distracted during time and then sent to the school psychologist, Ms. Hornbauer who well sometimes grownups cannot handle things like Peter is ADHD. Even more revealing as he tells her he hears people talking when their lips are not moving. Wanting to test him for ESP was her next move. ESP the ability to read minds or called the sixth sense. But, not everyone is a friend and one not so great friend named Rodney Bell was waiting to see the Ms. Hornbauer and low and behold he knows the secret and of course would now use it to manipulate Peter. Added in Peter had a crush on a girl in his class named Casey Grant whose mind he tried to read during a math test and might have been accused of cheating. But, here is where the story gets interesting as we meet Pete in school and learn more about Mr. Stein the substitute teacher!

But, just as Mr. Stein introduced himself Peter caught wind of his thoughts. Was this substitute teacher really planning on robbing the school cafeteria? Or was he planning something bigger? How does this 11 year old approach the Principal and tell him what he thinks an adult might do? As he tried to follow what his dad always told him to rehearse before speaking which helps you to figure out what he would say, no amount of rehearsing was going to change the outcome when poor Peter had to face Mr. Stein along with Principal Willis. Adults have a way of covering up for themselves and the end result was they both thought that Peter was “prone to exaggeration.” But, not so fast everyone wait until you find out what happens next!

Rodney was the school bully and was constantly annoying Peter. Big for the grade hi’s in and knowing Peter’s secret, will Peter cover for him and not be a tattletale when he comes in hurt and in need of the nurse. A chapter test in math was hanging over his head and talk with his father did not ease his tension. But, poor Mr. Davenport was really sick and Mr. Stein was there. Just from his greeting you know that this was going to be trouble for Peter. Talking about money and where it goes and instructing the class in the Federal Reserve System triggers something in Peter’s mind. Using hands on experiences he shows the class how money is stored, how loans are paid and decides on a field trip to the bank.

Casey Grant and Peter talk about the field trip at lunch and he spills what he thinks. But, what can two kids do to stop what an adult has in mind? But, first the math test that would or not prove to Rodney that Peter was not going to help him cheat and he might pass on his own. You have to read it to understand Peter’s logic and the humor.

Every step of the way we learn more about Peter’s talents and how he tries to use it for the good. But, can he and Casey along with Rodney figure out how to stop Mr. Stein? Pretending to do a research project for school they follow Stein to learn his movements and more about what he does when not in school. Finding them in the same market they cover for themselves and convince him to buy fruit snacks for the class trip for the students.

As Peter and Casey decide on their next move they enter the First American Bank pretending to deposit some money, telling the teller who directs them to Judy in charge of new accounts. By the time Peter and Casey get done she takes them into the vault to show them just how protected their money is as he explains that he wants to become a lawyer when he gets older. But, things get dicey and difficult when the class does go on the trip and the truth is revealed. No one believed him and the adults in the school thought he was wrong about Mr. Stein. But, when Davenport gets sick again and the class trip comes about wait until you find out what happens when the class is taken into the vault and Mr. Stein implements his plan.

Fear, nerves and definitely some quick thinking come into play as Mr. Stein takes a chance, gets tons of money and what happens next you just won’t believe. Did he really plant a bomb in the vault? What will happen to Casey? Why did he take her hostage? Will they ever get out and will they recover the money? A chase that is heart stopping and a sixth grader that hopes his mind reading skills will save his friend, get the culprit and find the money. An ending you won’t expect. A final scene that will make you smile and let’s not forget to do the exercise on page 107. Added in the author gives readers a small treat: A short excerpt from his next book: ESPete: Psychic Hoop Dreams.

This book is for middle school readers and even older teaching kids honesty, understanding and friendships are important. Sometimes we even help a bully like Rodney see the light! Characters that you have to love and a young 11-year-old boy named Peter that is smart, polite, and adorable and definitely hopes to see more of Casey Grant. Can't wait to read the next book.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer 

 E.S. Pete: Sixth Grade Sense is about the perils of a paranormal preteen and winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and Reader’s Favorite Book Awards
ISBN: 0981587909
Publisher: Paraphrase, LLC
About the Author: ARNOLD RUDNICK has written for many television shows, including THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY.
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