The Homework Machine

by Dan Gutman

Paperback, 2007



Local notes

PB Gut





Perfection Learning (2007), 149 pages


Four fifth-grade students--a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complete homework assignments.


Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 2010)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2009)
Sasquatch Book Award (Nominee — 2009)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2009)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2009, 2010)
Iowa Children's Choice Award (Nominee — 2010)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — Elementary — 2009)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Nominee — 2010)
South Carolina Book Awards (Nominee — Children's Book Award — 2009)
Read Aloud Indiana Book Award (Intermediate — 2006)
Children's Favorites Awards (Selection — 2007)


Original language


Physical description

149 p.; 5.2 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Robinsonstef
What kid hasn't wondered what life would be like with a homework machine? Well, fifth grade computer genius Brenton hasn’t had to worry about homework all year. When he mentions it to some of the kids in his class, they beg to see it, and he gives in. Judy, Snick, and Kelsey can’t believe how
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amazing the homework machine is; it even does their homework in their own handwriting. It's just too easy not to use it. So, four unlikely friends begin to hang out in order to get their homework done in record time. When they get together, the work is done so fast that they begin to get to know each other a little better. Interestingly, they realize that they each have more to them than meets the eye. What will happen if word about the homework machine gets out? Who is the strange man named Milton that keeps contacting them one by one? What caused all the kids in the fifth grade to wear red socks to school? Will the kids in the group become real friends? Read this book to find out how having more time on your hands might just change your life.

The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman is a book that kids will love and read quickly. Everyone wants their homework done faster, but is it really worth it in the end? It was a treat getting to know the different cast of characters in this book. Each chapter was a month of the school year and consisted of different interviews. I knew something had happened because of the people who were being interviewed and what they were saying, but I didn't know what the big event was until the end. Each character is a kid you know in real life. Some you might like, and some you might not like as much. But they're all real, and you can relate to them all in some way. I think this would be a great book for kids in third grade and up, because they will be dreaming of their own homework machine and will definitely be able to relate to the characters in the story. This is a terrific book for anyone who's ever dreamed of a world in which they have a little more time for what they want to do, and there are surprises around every corner. I can't wait to read The Return of the Homework Machine, because I know how this book ends, so I have no idea how the next book is going to start!
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LibraryThing member sckimmel
The book jacket shows a police file with photos of the four protagonists, a group of students who never would have chosen to be friends. One student, Brenton has found a way to harness the Internet to do his homework and soon all four gather daily at his house to use the homework machine despite
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their individual differences and the tensions among the four. Readers are hooked from the beginning by the involvement of the police as the story unravels from interviews with the students, their parents, and teacher. Fun and fast to read, this one should hold lots of kid appeal.
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LibraryThing member bibliophile26
Four unlikely schoolmates bond over a homework machine. I had to read this book for Battle of the Books and didn't care for it at all. For one thing, the story is completely improbable. Secondly, it flips from perspective to perspective (within very few pages) and that makes the story extremely
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choppy. Also, a serious tragedy happens to one of the kids and I didn't like the way the book dealt with it at all.
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LibraryThing member 9ac01bev
This book was very good it was funny at the end whene the man comes to the door and Kelsey starts to scream. I like the book because it was funny and interesting.
LibraryThing member springersh
i think it's a good book for people who don't like to read!
LibraryThing member KathleenFeeney
I am reading this book with my 3rd and 4th grade reading club. I think the kids are going to love it. There are many layers to the story and i think it will be iteresting to see if the 4th graders "get" more of it then the 3rd graders. The struggle that each child goes through about right and worng
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and how they handle their guilty feelings is done beautifully. SNik's Dad's death and how it affects him is sort of washed over. That is my only criticism of an otherwise great book.
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LibraryThing member mutantk8
Not bad. Initially, I didn't like how quickly the story shifted perspectives, I thought that this made it difficult to identify with any particular character. However, after the first couple chapters the story and the depth of its characters unfolded. The coming together of these unlikely friends
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created an intriguing and fun dynamic alongside the magical (or maybe not so magical in this tech-age) idea of a homework machine. Overall I think it's a good read, despite it's dalliances into the politics of war, and racial stereotypes.
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LibraryThing member PigOfHappiness
A delightful story about four students who bond over shared experiences and of course, the use of a homework machine. An interesting look into the different types of people in the world. Written as if dictated to a police report. Appropriate for fourth grade and up...
LibraryThing member bphillippe
Great book. Students really love reading it out loud as a play. they enjoyed dressing the parts of the characters.
LibraryThing member porch_reader
I read this aloud to my older son (who will be in 4th grade in the fall). We both LOVED it. The story is told from the perspective of four 5th grade students (as well as an occasional aside from their teacher, moms, and other adults). I've seen books in which each chapter is told from a different
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perspective, but in this book, Gutman jumps between perspectives throughout each chapter. Sometimes a character only contributes a sentence or two before another jumps in. The format had the potential to be somewhat distracting, but Gutman pulled it off beautifully. We felt like we got to know each of the kids very well. Each was distinct, and the story of the homework machine could not have been told as effectively without each of their unique perspectives.
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LibraryThing member plazek
4 very different kids are place in the same table grouping at school and become unlikely friends when one of them creates a computer program that does their homework for them. Kind of similar to Andrew Clement. Told through alternating short sections as if from a police interview.
LibraryThing member mmuncy
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman- Brenton, Judy, Sam, and Kelsey are all in the same class, but very different. When their teacher assigns them to the same group they aren’t exactly thrilled. However, the others soon learn that Brenton has created a machine to do his homework. Obviously he is
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smart enough that he could do his own, but it does save him time. He lets the others use the machine too and eventually they do become friends. The real problems start when people get curious as to why the group spends so much time together and has such good grades.
I think students could really get in to this book. I think at one time or another they have probably all wished for a machine that would do their homework for them. I know I have several times!
For an extension activity I would have the students think of an invention they would like to make that would be handy to use at school. I would have them draw a picture of what it is they want to invent and write a short paper over the invention. I would have the students give a presentation of their invention to the class.
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LibraryThing member jeunlee
Brenten, Sam, Kelsey and Judy were about to get into trouble because of the homework machine, but they wasn't in the big trouble as they thought. It was very mysterious because it was mixed of mystery and realistic and also it was not one person telling the one story but many people took turn to
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talk about what happened.
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LibraryThing member ywoo
Sam, Brenton, Judy and Kelesy have a secret about Belch the homework machine.
LibraryThing member pravs
The Homework Machine is a story about 4 very different 5th grade students who create and use a homework machine to complete their assignments. The book is a chapter book aimed at children in grades 4-6. There are a few complaints and concerns about racy language that Gutman uses, including use of
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words like “crap” and “sucks” but upon reading the book I found these concerns to be a bit overblown. The book is well written as it takes the viewpoint of several narrators simultaneously. The timing of the book is after the whole ordeal is over and the students recall their journey over the past year. I would recommend keeping this book on the shelves for 4th graders and above.
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LibraryThing member adamjohn
The D Squad has a really big secret. They have
LibraryThing member jians
The D squad, Judy a brainy, Brenton, a geek, Sam Snikwad and a Kelsey who dyes her hair pink and pierces her belly button. They have a special connection which makes their grades go up, Up, UP! And it's the Homework Machine...
LibraryThing member EBKJI
It is a creative book.
LibraryThing member KimJD
Four classmates who don't have much in common start spending a lot of time together when one of them creates a computer program that can do their homework. Sounds like a great invention, but the four find out that "no homework" isn't all it's cracked up to be.
LibraryThing member stephxsu
I thought this was book was just okay, in that it dragged on for me by the middle and all the way through to the end. But we had some pretty good discussions on this book for my EL410 class. Of course the kids were all wondering about how, exactly, Brenton created such a machine, but there was also
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lots of discussion about the 4 students' similarities, differences, and growth over the course of the book, and there was even some discussion about chess vs. war! So this was one of those cases where I didn't really enjoy it because I wasn't the target audience, but the target audience did like it, and even clamored to read the sequel.
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LibraryThing member simonl
The story is told from first-person narratives, also includes police testimonies from the kids. This way of storytelling is different from your traditional narrative. It is also interesting to see how four different characters can be friends over time.




½ (136 ratings; 3.7)
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