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Author: Korman, Gordon
Due to an administrative mix-up, troublemaker Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted & talented students, after pulling a major prank at his school.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 153175
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 58481
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/12)
School Library Journal (10/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (11/12)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2012 Korman’s novel follows the strange journey of Donovan Curtis, a prankster whose latest escapade does unintended but colossal damage to the Hardcastle Middle School gym and lands him in the beleaguered school superintendent’s office. There he is miraculously misassigned to the district’s gifted school, where this average student is determined to stay, hiding out from the administration and the retribution he fears. Meanwhile, Donovan makes a place for himself on the school’s robotics team and begins to see his gifted classmates in a new light. Similar to the approach used in Schooled (2007), here Korman tells the story vividly through a rotating series of first-person narrators, including Donovan, his classmates, his teachers, his sister, and the superintendent. The narrator’s name and IQ appears below each chapter’s title. While some stereotypes are upended and there are plenty of issues to ponder along the way, many readers will simply enjoy following Donovan’s story as it unfolds. From its lovable-robot jacket art to its satisfying conclusion, this will please Korman’s fans and win him new ones. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 11/01/2012 The plot is pure Korman: hyperactive, heedless Donovan Curtis whacks a school statue of Atlas with a stick, which sends the huge metal globe on Atlas’s shoulders rolling into the gym during a basketball game, which lands Donovan in the superintendent’s office, where his name is mistakenly entered by the irate administrator onto a list of candidates for the district’s middle-school gifted program. Thus begins Donovan’s short-lived career in the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, where he flounders through the program while teachers and fellow classmates try desperately to identify just where his outstanding academic talent lies. Donovan knows very well he doesn’t belong, but his eyes have been opened to the perks and privileges and stellar facilities enjoyed by the gifted kids, while the rest of the district makes do with a substandard curriculum, shabby surroundings, and an antagonistic staff. Donovan’s predicament is as much satire as typical school-hijinks tale, and middle-school readers will recognize the irony as the Academy’s staff, absolutely certain their recruitment protocol is unimpeachable, insist that Donovan must therefore have some academic depths yet to be discovered and plumbed. The lunacy, which revolves around Donovan’s shallow yet indispensable contribution to his team’s robotics competition, goes over the edge, though, with a subplot in which his gifted class studies his pregnant sister to get “hands-on” mandated credit in Human Growth and Development. While the school’s administrative dysfunction is just believable enough to keep the story rolling, field trips to the sister’s doctor visits (“We were at a pelvic exam!”) exceed the limit of credibility. Nonetheless, kids who relish Korman’s brand of subversive mayhem will want to give this a go. EB - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 5–8—Donovan Curtis is an impulse-driven prankster who, at the start of Ungifted, manages to alienate both the students and faculty of his middle school. First he mocks the basketball team over the school PA system with a derisive cheer and then he whacks the school's statue of Atlas with a stick, knocking the huge globe off and sending it rolling down the hill where it smashes into the gymnasium and stops the big game. When Donovan ends up on the carpet, the district superintendent accidentally adds his name to the roll of gifted students at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction. Although he flounders at his new school, Donovan ends up humanizing a program that focuses on academic achievement and ignores the social aspects of students' success. From his first day when he startles the robotics team by naming their robot, to his saving the class from summer school by drafting his pregnant sister as the answer to a missed credit in Human Development, Donovan finds that his gift lies in helping the smart kids by teaching them how to be "normal." Using an ancestor who survived the Titanicas inspiration, Donovan has a goofy kindness that charms characters and readers alike. Reminiscent of Stanley Yelnats and Joey Pigza, he careens through life much like the out-of-control globe from Atlas's statue. The story is told from the points of view of various characters (each chapter titled with an Un-word), and readers hear from teachers and administrators, students-both gifted and not-and family members. The message is tolerance, and Korman expertly and humorously delivers it in an unpretentious and universally appealing tale.—Jane Barrer, Steinway Intermediate School, New York City - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.