Bill Nye the Science Guy wrote a middle grade novel and it is FANTASTIC! I recently picked this up at the library because: (1) I love middle grade and (2) Bill Nye wrote it. At the Bottom of the World is the start of a new middle grade series, Jack and the Geniuses, co-authored by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone.
At the Bottom of the World is the story of 3 foster siblings, Jack, Ava, and Matt, who live together in a New York City apartment without parents after being emancipated. Ava and Matt are certified geniuses and Jack is just your “average” kid. The book begins with them investigating a new mysterious building that is across the street from their apartment and they meet an inventor named Hank. They begin working for Hank and that’s when the adventure begins and the crew heads off to Antarctica.
At the Bottom of the world was a diverse, engaging, and an educational read. The cast of characters in this book was filled with people of color and different nationalities. The strong female characters in the book were my absolute favorite! The character development was great for the main characters, Jack, Ava, and Matt, making them very realistic. I loved how the book showed that “average” children can do extraordinary things! Just because you are considered a genius doesn’t mean you are not smart or capable. I LOVED THIS MESSAGE!
The writing was so descriptive that I could actually see the frozen tundra of the Antarctic and feel the below freezing temperatures. How the authors are able to convey this description while still making it understandable for children was great. The mystery in the book was engaging and left me trying to guess “who done it?” throughout. It wasn’t predictable in an eye-roll inducing way. There are discussions on Antarctica (obviously), global warming, climate change, basic density, and clean water initiatives. These things were presented in ways that did not seem like a lecture or a way to push some agenda but would pique children’s interest and perhaps want to do more research.
Lastly, at the end of the book is a simple science experiment and a questions and answer section.
I, of course, gave this book 5 stars and I cannot wait for the second book, In the Deep Blue Sea, to come out in September of this year. This is definitely one that I highly recommend and will be buying this series for Mays and I’s shelf at home.
If you’ve read this come talk to me in the comments.