October 1, 1996
ISBN: 9780545442138
Ages 8-12

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Also available as an audiobook


Study Guide


The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher’s 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 don’t 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 can’t 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!


ILA/CBC Children’s Choices
Child Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of 2006
Booklist Editor’s Choice
Booklinks‘ Lasting Connections of 2006,
2006 New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best
Sasquatch Award Winner (Washington)
Bluestem Book Award Nominee (Illinois)
Colorado Children’s Book Award Master List
Delaware Diamonds Award Nominee
Disney Adventures Book Awards Nominee
Golden Sower Award (Nebraska)
Indian Paintbrush Book Award Nominee (Wyoming)
Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominee
Keystone to Reading Award Nominee (Pennsylvania)
Land of Enchantment RoadRunner Award Nominee (New Mexico)
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee
Maud Hart Lovelace Award Nominee (Minnesota)
Nebraska Golden Sower Award Nominee
Nene Award Nominee (Hawaii)
Nutmeg Children’s Book Award Nominee (Connecticut)
ONEBOOKAZ Nominee (Arizona)
Pacific Northwest Young Reader’s Choice Award Master List
Prairie Pasque Award Nominee (South Dakota)
South Carolina Children’s Book Award Nominee
Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominee (Florida)
Virginia Readers’ Choice Award List
Volunteer State Book Award Nominee (Tennessee)
Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee (Indiana)


★ “This fast-paced, entertaining book has something for everyone.”Booklist

“Humorous”Kirkus Reviews

“A dramatic and thought-provoking story with a strong message about honesty and friendship.”School Library Journal

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