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Brain Man and Double Trouble Ditto Box (ebook and print) by Betty Jo Schuler (Mid-Grade Reader)

Brain Man and Double Trouble Ditto Box (ebook and print) by Betty Jo Schuler (Mid-Grade Reader)
 
(8 reviews)  

Randy O'Rourke invents a "Ditto Box", a machine that copies whatever he puts inside. When he wants a ball glove like his friend Jake's, he puts in the glove, and Zap--a duplicate for himself. If Randy and Jake want pizza, he orders one, makes a copy, and they eat two. Randy copies homework, games, and even Asthma, Jake's furry mutt. Everything is going great until his little sister wants a playmate. Twozy, as Suzy names her "twin," looks and whines just like Suzy. Mom and Dad are mad at Randy for doubling their trouble, and he has to baby-sit more girls more often. Two sisters are twice as bad! How can he get rid of the new one?
BRAIN MAN
Randy O'Rourke wants the robot he built to be as "Super Colossal" as those at Future World, an amusement park where robots do all the work. Brain doesn't disappoint him. He does Randy's homework and chores--plus some things he wasn't programmed to do. His red heart glows in response to compliments. He blinks when touched. He uses "mind talk" to communicate with Randy. However, some of Brain's unprogrammed actions are less endearing. From minor glitch to major, the robot presents a series of escalating problems. He's out of control, but Brain is almost human and Randy loves the big pest.

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Brain Man and Double Trouble Ditto Box (ebook and print) by Betty Jo Schuler (Mid-Grade Reader)
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(8 reviews)  

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5 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Christine Spindler for Ebooks for Kids (http://www.dreamwater.com/spindler)
Randy O'Rourke is like most boys: he doesn't want to do his homework and his chores, he'd rather play baseball all day. So he builds a robot who'll do it all for him and calls him Brain. But he hasn't reckoned with Brain's rebelliousness. Not even emergency "brain surgery" (I love that pun) can stop Brain from developing glitch after catastrophic glitch and finally falling in love with a female robot at Future World.

What is more, Randy has trouble at school. His homework is always a perfect A, but his tests suck because he can't send Brain to school in his place. With some reluctance he understands that it's about time for him to take responsibility for his life again.

No other writer knows how to dive headlong into a story the way Betty Jo Schuler does. Within just a couple of paragraphs she establishes the setting, the main character and the fun she's about to dish out generously. She gets better and wittier with every book.
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Jennifer LB Leese for ASTORYWEAVER'S Book Reviews (http://www.geocities.com/ladyjiraff/aswbr.html)
4 1/2 stars

Immediately Betty Jo Schuler sets the scene, and establishes the main character--all within the first few paragraphs.

In this well-written story, Ms. Schuler teaches the reader about the right and wrongs of young adulthood, and the responsibilities that go along with it. Through the eyes of her life-like main character, Randy O'Rourke and his best friend, Brain.

Randy likes to build robots. Brain is his newest creation, and Randy hopes that Brain can be just as good, if not better than the robots at Future World, an amusement park where robots do all the work. Brain finishes Randy's schoolwork, he does Randy's chores; all that he was programmed to do, plus more. Brain begins to show some serious glitches in his programming as time goes on. His hilarious escapades will keep you smiling as you read chapter after chapter. Brain is out of control!
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Molly http://www.angelfire.com/ok4/mollymartin, http://www.AuthorsDen.com/mjhollingshead 20+ years classroom teacher
Fun Read
Recommended
4.5 stars

Red haired Randy O'Rourke is a pretty normal kid: he doesn't much care for chores or homework. He does enjoy hanging out with his best friend Jake and he enjoys tinkering with things. Randy has already invented an injector to fill hot dogs with mustard, a page turner for turning pages of books, and a self cleaning fish bowl. So, what does Randy do? Why he builds himself a robot, of course. He builds himself a robot to do his chores and homework. And this is not just any old robot but a robot with blue glass eyes, a heart carefully painted on his chest and himself polished until he sparkles.

This is Brain a robot whose blue eyes glisten when he feels hurt, red heart glows when he is praised and communicates by 'mind talk' with Randy. Not only that, Brain blinks when he is touched. Before long Randy is getting excellent marks on his homework and all his chores are done to perfection. On the other hand Randy is failing tests in his classroom and Mom and Dad are concern because Randy has too much free time to spend with Jake or injust sitting around and doing nothing. Mom is worried that Randy isn't kind enough to the robot, and Dad is concerned that Randy's muscles will turn to mush.

Brain has been programmed to do many things when glitch after glitch begins to appear. It doesn't take long before Brain is out of control and Randy must face some facts about both his robot and himself as well.

In Brainman Writer Schuler has crafted an inviting tale sure to appeal to the funny bone of kids in the 10-14 year old set. Boys and girls alike can identify with Randy and his dislike for having to face his home and school responsibilities. Few kids relish either chores or homework. Schuler quickly sets the scene with Randy, Brain and Jake, Jacob Silverman, introduced from the outset. Randy's parents and little sister Suzy appear within the first ten pages. Brain's possibilities those programmed and those appearing on their own as well as his increasing glitches appear immediately.

Schuler draws the reader into the tale set down in Brainman with Randy's description of Future World, an amusement park where he got his idea for having a robot of his own. Reader interest is maintained as Brain begins to show a personality of his own and Randy is forced to deal with realities of what he has created.

Vocabulary used on the pages of Brainman is well within the scope of most middle grade youngsters. The PDF, format is easily used. Brainman should fit well into the free time reading program for the classroom, home schoolers and kids' own pleasure reading as well as having value for a unit on responsibility and thinking ahead. Intuitive thinking and anticipating outcome are attributes often underdeveloped or completely lacking in most youngsters. Brainman may prove a valuable tool as parents and teachers guide youngsters toward critical thinking for anticipating outcome to action.

Enjoyed the Read, Happy to recommend.
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Angie Dobson for In The Library Reviews (http://www.inthelibraryreview.com/SchulerBettyJo.html)
Randy O'Rourke invents gadgets to make his life easier. His goals include building the perfect robot to do his chores and homework. After a whole summer of tinkering, he finally comes up with an invention that he can program to his every wish. In searching for a name, Randy and his friend Jake Silverman, come up with Brain as the robot quickly does homework without errors. Brain does the dishes, baby-sits Suzy, Randy's little sister, pours juice, ties shoes, and does all of his chores until Randy's parents fear his brain will turn to mush!

What Randy's family and Jake don't know is that due to some glitches, Brain seems to have feelings that Randy does not know how to control. Jealous of Jake, Brain takes his baseball bat, and learns to play with Randy. Other glitches cause Brain to make messes in the household, as well as build a wall so Suzy is trapped in her own blocks. Randy always manages to fix the problem until one day, Brains sees a girl Robot at a local futuristic amusement park, Future World, and finally runs away to live with her. Randy has to learn to live without his best friend, and realizes that Brain has to go in order to be happy.

This is a great science fiction novel for kids! This novel, written for kids 9 to 12 will hold the reader's attention making them want a robot for their very own! In reading about the escapades Randy, Jake and Brain manage to get involved in, the reader will learn life lessons about cheating and letting schoolwork slide. As Randy learns that letting Brain do his homework causes him to fail tests, children will pick up on the reasons why homework is important. In my view, anything that makes kids want to do homework should be promoted to all.

Betty Jo Schuler has published eleven e-books, including another story about Randy O'Rourke and his inventions, Double Trouble Ditto Box. I look forward to reading her next story in the Randy O'Rourke series, available now. Ms. Schuler's children's and middle grade reader novels are sure to delight kids of all ages.

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Christina Lewis, freelance writer and owner/editor of http://www.kidsbookshelf.com - a children's literature website
Randy O'Rourke liked to invent things, and his latest invention was really cool, a Ditto Box. The Ditto Box would make a copy of anything that was put in it. Randy and his friend Jacob soon have a blast copying things - like their homework, Jacob's dog, and candy bars. They even make a copy of Randy's three-year-old sister because she wanted a playmate. But when things start to get out of hand Randy begins to think it's not such a great invention after all. And what will they do when one by one the copies begin to disappear? Randy soon learns one very important lesson - that "imitations are never as good as the real thing."

"Double Trouble Ditto Box" is a fun and exciting story that all kids will enjoy.
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One: Testing--2, 3, 4

Randy O'Rourke tightened the last screw on his robot. Finished! Looking it in the eye, he held out his hand. "Shake," he said.

The robot shook all over. His body clanked noisily.

"No," Randy said. "I want you to shake my hand."

The robot shook his hand.

Randy's shoes were always untied. He pointed to his sneaker. "Good. You got that right. Now tie my shoe."

The robot got down on both knees. He made a rabbit's ear in one shoelace. He made a rabbit's ear in the other lace. Then he looped them together.

"You tied it!" Randy yelled. "Awesome. Wait until Jake sees you!"

Randy grabbed the receiver off the old crank phone that he had rescued from the junkyard. Cr-rank. The phone was hooked up to Jacob Silverman's house next door. Cr-rank. On the third ring, Jake would answer. Cr-rank.

"Hi, Randy. What's happening?"

"Get over here right away. I have something to show you!"

"Is your robot finished?" Jacob asked eagerly.

"Don't ask questions. Just get over here quickly!"

Randy shoved some clothes off a rocking chair and sat down to admire his invention. He wanted his robot to be the best ever. He'd given it blue glass eyes. He'd painted a red heart on its chest. He'd polished its silver body until it sparkled. It looked great. And it did what he said! That was the most important part.

This invention had taken months. Summer vacation was over. School had started, and Randy hadn't even had time to play baseball. But now, he'd have plenty of time. Randy proudly ran his hand over the robot's metal chest.

The robot's blue eyes blinked.

Was he sensitive to touch? Randy patted the robot's arm.

It blinked again.

Unbelievable! Running his fingers through his red hair, Randy looked out the window. Where was Jake? He hadn't lived in Tech City long, but he was already Randy's best friend. He couldn't wait to show him the robot.

Jake pounded on the door. Three knocks, their special code. Randy let him in and stepped aside with a broad sweep of his arm. "Ta-daa!"

"Wow!" Jacob walked around the robot. "What a piece of work."

Randy smiled proudly. "Shake hands with my best friend," he told the robot.

The robot grabbed Jacob's hand. He shook it. Hard.

"Ouch!" Jacob yelled. "I don't think he likes me."

"Don't be silly." Randy loosened a screw in the robot's wrist.

"Shake," he said, holding out his hand.

The robot shook Randy's hand nicely.

"See?" Randy shrugged. "It was just a glitch. A glitch is a problem. The loose screw was a minor glitch."

"I get it. The screw was a small problem." Jacob ran his hand over the robot's arm.

The robot blinked.

"Hey! He's really cool," Jacob said.

The robot's red heart glowed.

"Criminy, he acts real." Jacob acted excited now. "How's he do that stuff?"

Randy hadn't programmed the robot to respond to touch. Or to compliments. But both were such great tricks, he just smiled mysteriously.

"I gotta see this again." Jacob touched the robot. It blinked.

"You're awesome," he said. Its heart glowed. Jacob whistled loudly. "He's totally awesome."

"Better than that, he's super colossal," Randy said. "That's what the ads call the robots at Future World."

Jacob looked at Randy. "What's Future World?"

"It's this really neat amusement park where robots do all the work. It's not far from here. You'll have to see it. The robots run the rides. They sell the food. They do everything. The only thing that real people do is boss the robots around. That's where I got my big idea."

"Here, watch this." There were shirts and shoes scattered all over his bedroom. "Pick up my clothes," he told the robot.

The robot picked up the shirts, folded them, and put them in a drawer. He set the shoes inside the closet.

"See? He'll do all my chores. I won't have to do anything."

Jacob's mouth hung open. "You just say 'do something', and he does?"

"Right. I say make my bed..." Randy paused. "I should have a name to call him."

"He's making the bed, anyway," Jacob said, chuckling. "But he does need a name. Robby sounds good with Robot."

"Too common. This guy needs a special name." Randy paced the floor saying names to himself. "William. Alexander. Arthur. Lancelot."

"Kings' and knights' names aren't right for someone you plan to order around."

"How about Sylvester? Or Sly? Arnold, maybe."

Jacob shook his head. "They don't suit him."

"Okay, let me think." As he thought, Randy paced the floor and scratched his head.

The robot paced the floor and scratched his head.

Jacob cracked up. "You don't even have to think for yourself. He's doing it for you."

"This is even better than I planned!" Randy shouted. "If my robot can think, he can do my homework. Then I really won't have to do anything--ever again." He hopped up on the bed, and bounced on his Cincinnati Reds spread. "Yahoo!"

"Wait a minute. You really think he can do homework?" Jacob asked.

"Yeah, I do." Randy sat down and ran his hand over the robot's metal fingers.

The robot blinked, and his heart glowed.

Randy grinned at Jacob. "I think this guy can do anything he tries. But just to be sure, I'll put him to the final test."

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