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Book Review: The Genius Files by Dan Gutman

Coke and Pepsi McDonald are about to turn 13. But before they can celebrate their birthday, they get chased by bad guys, jump off a cliff and get stuck in their burning school. Then they discover they're part of a government organization called The Genius Files, and they're meant to save the world.

In The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable, Dan Gutman doesn't just introduce us to two spy kids and their government mission. He also takes us on a unique tour of the USA. Coke and Pep's family has planned a cross-country trip in their new RV from California to Washington, DC. Along the way, their mother, who runs a website devoted to highlighting offbeat places to visit throughout the US, is determined to see the biggest ball of twine in the world, along with various other unusual places. So Gutman takes us on a trip to places most Americans have never considered visiting, like museums devoted to yo-yos and pez dispensers.

The Genius Files is a fun, action-filled story that is educational as well. Along the way, the kids have to figure out secret messages and find a way out of dangerous situations. And Gutman even includes notes in the margins on some pages, telling the reader to look at online maps to plot the family's trip.

I read this book aloud to my 7 year old son and he loved it. The combination of action, which wasn't too scary, and geography featuring interesting locations, really appealed to him. I have to admit, I loved it too and can't wait to read the sequel. I'd highly recommend The Genius Files as a read-aloud for elementary aged kids, and also for middle graders to read to themselves. And be sure to have a map or computer nearby to look up all the fun places they visit.

I'm going to link up to a couple children's book events: What My Child is Reading and Book Sharing Monday. Check them out for more children's book recommendations!

See my reviews of other Dan Gutman books:
The Homework Machine

This review was written based on a copy of The Genius Files that I won in a giveaway from HarperCollins Children's Books.


  1. I wonder what my daughter would think of the book - sounds like it would be too scary. But I keep it in mind for the later. Thanks for joining WMCIR!


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