DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teachers pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam Snick,, Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you dont want when you are keeping a secret. Before long, members of the D Squad, as they are called at school are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen, is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things cant get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail...or worse!
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Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
June 25, 2007
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Excerpt from The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman
IntroductionPolice Chief Rebecca Fish, Grand Canyon, ArizonaSeen a lot of strange stuff go down in ten years working here. Probably has something to do with being so close to the canyon. Having a mile-deep hole in your backyard brings out the weirdness in folks.I remember the time that gambler from L.A. lost a bet in Las Vegas, and his friends drove him up here. Forced him to parachute into the canyon. Guy almost died. You get all kinds in this part of the country. The canyon attracts 'em like flies to dog doo. But this recent situation involving the children was one of the stranger cases I ever ran into.We called in everybody who had anything to do with what happened and taped their private testimony for the record. Far as I'm concerned, this case is closed and shut. Let's hope these four kids learned their lesson. This'll never happen again, that's for darn sure.Copyright ©2006 by Dan GutmanChapter OneSeptemberSam Dawkins, grade 5The police lady says me and Brenton and Judy and Kelsey have to each come in separately and talk about what happened.Okay, so here goes. Is this thing on? My name is Sam Dawkins, but everybody calls me Snikwad on account of that's my last name spelled backward. Dawkins. Snikwad. Get it? Most kids call me "Snik." It's kinda cool. Beats having a nickname like Booger Face or Fart Boy or something stupid like that.I was new to the school. I didn't know anything. And I didn't get kicked out of my old school because I refused to get a haircut. That's a lie. I don't know how that rumor got started. I don't care if you believe me. That's the truth. Anyway, my parents moved here from Oregon. My dad was in the air force and that's why we moved to Arizona. He was assigned to Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.The bottom line is, we messed up. Stuff happens. We're not perfect. We all feel bad. We won't do it again. What are you gonna do, throw us in jail? That's my statement.What, you need more than that? Details? Okay, okay. What do you want to know?Kelsey Donnelly, grade 5My name is Kelsey Donnelly. I really don't see the reason why we gotta do this. The police lady told me that I have to make a "statement" in private and tell the whole story of what happened from the very beginning in September. Like I'm a creep or something! I barely remember what happened last week. Forget about way back in September.Look, we're sorry about what happened. We were just having a little fun and it got out of hand. It's not like we robbed a bank or anything. That's my statement. I can't believe I have to spend my summer in this room with a tape recorder when I could be out having fun. Can I go now?Judy Douglas, grade 5My name is Judy Douglas. My mom works at home and my dad works for the National Park Service. He cuts down dead trees and does controlled burns to prevent forest fires.The whole thing started because certain people who shall remain nameless did some thoughtless things that I don't need to discuss here.This is so unfair. I have almost straight A's and I'm in the G&T program. That's gifted and talented. I would never break the law or do anything dishonest. Things just got out of control. The next thing we knew, we had to go talk to the police.Do you have any idea of how humiliating this entire ordeal has been for me? Do you know how upset my parents were when they found out? And now this is going to be on my permanent record, probably for the rest of my life. If this keeps me out of law school someday, I will be so angry.I'll sue. That's what I'll do. Well, if I get into law school I'll sue. But if I get into law school I won't need to sue. Oh, I just wish I could go to sleep and wake up and find out it was all a dream. Like it never happened.Judy's momMy first reaction was that it was discrimination. We are one of the fe