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Phineas L. MacGuire . . . Erupts!

The First Experiment

Frances O'Roark Dowell

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.



1. He's allergic to purple, telephone calls, and girls, and can prove it.

2. He's probably the world's expert on mold, including which has the highest stink potential.

3. He does not have a best friend. He does, however, have an un-best friend, who he does not -- repeat, not -- want to upgrade to best-friend status.

But disaster strikes when his teacher pairs Mac and his un-best friend together for the upcoming science fair. Worse, this un-best friend wants the project to be on dinosaurs, which is so third grade. Worse still, it seems as though everyone else in his class finds the un-best friend as unlikable as Mac does. But, being a boy-scientist, once Mac notices this, he just might have to do some investigating.

This very funny young middle-grade novel includes tantalizingly grue- some experiments for exploding your own volcanoes and imploding marshmallows.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 21, 2006 – Dowell (Dovey Coe) creates a likable hero who proves that kids can be both smart and funny. Fourth grade does not get off to a super start for Mac in this first installment of the From the Highly Selective Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire series. In his clipped, comical first-person narrative, he explains that his best friend, who shared his passion for science, recently moved away. His "un-best friend," also named Mac, is a new classmate whose tough-guy persona immediately alienates his peers. When their teacher pairs the two as partners for the science fair, narrator Mac wants to do their project on mold and the new Mac suggests they do it on dinosaurs (they pick a third that gives the book its title: an erupting volcano). On a visit to his new classmate's apartment, Mac makes some un-scientific discoveries: the boy's name is actually Ben (he changed it so he'd have something in common with someone in his new class), he is an accomplished artist who creates comic books, and he is "really a pretty nice person." Dowell nicely builds their blossoming friendship, and Mac devises a plan to re-introduce Ben to their classmates. Several subplots further enliven this amiable tale, among them narrator Mac's friendly rivalry with a smart classmate who insists that she will win first place at the fair. McDaniel contributes spirited half-tone illustrations to the novel, which concludes with directions for performing several experiments mentioned in the story. Ages 8-12.
Phineas L. MacGuire . . . Erupts!
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  • $6.99
  • Level: Grades 3-7
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction
  • Published: Jun 23, 2008
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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