cover image The Third Mushroom

The Third Mushroom

Jennifer L. Holm. Random House, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1980-7

In this follow-up to The Fourteenth Goldfish, seventh grader Ellie continues to experiment—socially and scientifically—in middle school. She unsuccessfully tests the dating waters with best friend Raj, a goth boy with blue-streaked hair, and rekindles a friendship with pal Brianna. Not unexpectedly, Ellie’s cantankerous but lovable scientist grandfather, Melvin, resurfaces—just in time for the county science fair (he’s a 77-year-old with dual PhDs living in a 14-year-old’s body after he reversed his aging process). Together, grandfather and granddaughter confront the limits of medical science, and a catastrophic pet accident sparks one of many discussions about the questions that scientific advances raise. Ellie learns that discovery, like overcoming her initial distaste for mushrooms on the third try, involves trials, observation, and risk. Holm delivers another thoughtful, gently humorous story. STEM-friendly back matter profiles the famous scientists that Ellie and Melvin discuss. Ages 8–12. [em](Sept.) [/em]