Cardboard & Duct-Tape: Star Jumper

Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius, by Frank Asch (lexile: NA; AR book level: 4.2; 128 pp)

Have you ever made a working spaceship out of cardboard boxes and junk found around the house?  How about a shrink ray?  An oxygen generator?  A people duplicator?  All these and more are within your grasp if you’re Alex, kid-genius and narrator of the Cardboard Genius series by Frank Asch.

Alex’s life would be perfect if it weren’t for his bratty little 1st grade brother Jonathan.  So Alex concocts a plan: build a spaceship, travel across the galaxy, and find himself a nice little Jonathan-free planet.  Jonathan does his best to integrate himself into everything Alex does (often using the old standby “I’ll tell Mom!” ploy).

The books are a fun and fairly easy read, and come with Alex’s drawings of his inventions as well as Jonathan’s pesky antics.  The cool gadgets multiply in the next two books, and Alex eventually comes to acknowledge Jonathan’s own brand of genius.  The other books are:

(And when you’re done reading, you may just want to get a bunch of cardboard boxes and duct tape, and start making your own inventions!)


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