For eleven year-old Ellie, sixth grade brings new and uncomfortable changes. Her best friend seems to have left her behind. Her goldfish has died. And her mother brings home a strange, fussy teenage boy who claims to be her grandfather.
Grandpa Melvin claims to have discovered the secrets of eternal youth. Now that he’s a teenager, though, no one will take him seriously. With the help of Ellie and another student, he hopes to complete his research and finally win that Nobel prize.
Her grandfather’s passion ignites something inside of Ellie, and she begins to study the great scientists in history herself. The references to the life and works of Galileo, Newton Salk, and Oppenheimer add richness and depth to the story. The challenges her grandfather faces as a result of his newfound youth highlight the flaws in the theory that with eternal youth comes eternal happiness and perfection. Fun and humor fill the story from start to finish. The characters are memorable. Holm brilliantly captures the wonder and curiosity that motivate great scientists and translates it into an entertaining, intelligent story for youth.
I was a huge fan of Ellie right from the beginning of the story, and the crazy antics of her teenage grandfather made me laugh out loud more than once. I liked the balance of science to story– while there’s a lot of science-y stuff happening, there’s still a strong story, too. The Fourteenth Goldfish is a fun read perfect for science enthusiasts and kids who enjoy quirky stories about family relationships.