Secret Identity
Secret Identity

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Series: Shredderman Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd, tired of being called names by the class bully, has a secret identity--Shredderman!
Catalog Number: #269864
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Chapter Book Chapter Book
Publisher: Dell
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition Date: 2006
Illustrator: Biggs, Brian,
Pages: 138 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-440-41912-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-37204-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-440-41912-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-37204-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2003017856
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Thought it wasn't possible to put a fresh spin on the meathead-versus-nerd story line? The author of the popular Sammy Keyes mysteries proves otherwise with the debut of a hilarious new series. Meet Nolan, a brainy fifth-grader whose socially awkward habits (dorky power walking, wearing his socks outside his pants) have earned him the nickname Nerd from bully Bubba Bixby. Fed up with Bubba and inspired by his hippie teacher's jotted compliment on a math quiz (You shred, man!), Nolan anonymously launches, a forum devoted to exposing Bubba's misdeeds. Van Draanen handles the technological elements with confidence, describing the process of launching a Web site in the breathless voice of an egghead whose deepest enthusiasms have been engaged, and her readers will relish the gadgetry and ingenious problem solving. They'll also connect to the story of a grade-school outsider whose triumphs in cyberspace boost his confidence in the bricks-and-mortar world. Wa-hoo! for Shredderman, and kudos to Van Draanen for delivering a character-driven series that's spot-on for middle-graders and great for reluctant readers, especially boys. Four more visits with Nolan and his alter ego, all featuring pitch-perfect illustrations, are planned.
Horn Book
Bullied by Bubba Bixby, fifth-grader Nolan Byrd ("Byrd-the-Nerd") creates a website that features photographic and video clip evidence of Bubba's misbehavior. Written in Nolan's conversational first-person voice, this story of grade-school angst and empowerment is written in a generally humorous style, despite a somewhat mawkish ending. Tongue-in-cheek illustrations accompany the breezy text.
Kirkus Reviews
In a Sammy Keyes for younger readers, Van Draanen opens a new series featuring a fifth-grade math wiz with this quick-paced take on the perennial "dealing with a bully" theme. Weary of being terrorized by Alvin "Bubba" Bixby while grown-ups turn a blind eye, Nolan "Byrd-the-Nerd" Byrd installs a digital camera in his backpack to catch Bubba in the act, and then posts the incriminating photos on a secretly created Web site. The ploy does get Bixby in hot water, particularly with his (predictably) abusive father—but the author suggests more effective alternative strategies by having Nolan gain the self-confidence to stand up to bullying, even at the price of being beaten up, and to refuse to play the nickname game. Biggs contributes sketchy "Beavis and Butthead"style vignettes; the author adds a supporting cast of unconventional characters, and pushes off a rolling tangle of subplots to set the stage for further exploits from "Shredderman." They should get an enthusiastic welcome. (Fiction. 8-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A new series featuring a puny but brainy fifth grader named Nolan Byrd, whose dorky ways earn him the nickname of "Nerd" from Bubba Bixby, a seemingly unstoppable bully who cheats, lies, steals, and terrorizes little kids. Tired of Bubba's relentless tormenting, Nolan anonymously launches, an online forum that chronicles the bully's transgressions. The name Shredderman is inspired by the compliment Nolan's math teacher writes on a quiz, "You shred, man!" Readers will be impressed with the protagonist's ingenious problem-solving abilities and his adept use of technology to expose Bubba. This entertaining story of an egghead who cannot keep his shoes tied who uses his brains to triumph over the worst bully in school will keep even reluctant readers laughing and wanting more stories about this cyber superhero. Droll, black-and-white cartoons are a perfect accompaniment to the clever text.-Edward Sullivan, White Pine School, TN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 14,955
Reading Level: 3.3
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.3 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 75663 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.7 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q36377
Lexile: 460L
Guided Reading Level: R
Fountas & Pinnell: R

Bubba Bixby was born big and mean, full of teeth and ready to bite.

That's what my mom thinks anyway.

My dad says a boy isn't born bad—he grows into being bad.

I don't know who's right. What I do know is that Bubba Bixby's got rocky knuckles.

And killer breath.

Teachers are always telling him to use words instead of fists—they have no idea what they're saying! Bubba-breath can knock you out cold.

Ask Ian McCoy. It actually happened to him in the third grade. When Bubba shouted at him, Ian's eyes rolled up in his head.

His knees buckled.

Then he blacked out and bit the dirt.

We had to slap his cheeks like crazy to get him to wake up, and when he did, he sat up, then threw up.

My father thinks I shouldn't call Bubba "Bubba" like everyone else does. He thinks I should call him Alvin, which is his real name. I've told him that calling him Alvin will get me pounded. Mike McDermish got dared to do it once and was nothing but Mike-mush when it was over. Now it's "Sure, Bubba" and "You betcha, Bubba" whenever he talks to him.

My mom and dad used to try to get the school to do something about Bubba. They talked to teachers. They even talked to the principal, Dr. Voss, a bunch of times. Nothing changed.

Dad thinks Dr. Voss isn't assertive enough. Dr. Voss thinks I'm not assertive enough. She says that kids like Bubba help us get ready for life.

Now that I'm a fifth grader, my dad tells me not to worry about Bubba. He says that I've got a lot more on the ball than Bubba does, and that one day Alvin Bixby will be working for me.

But he's wrong on two counts. First, that's forever away. And second, I wouldn't hire Bubba in a million years.

I'd fire him.

Say . . . what if I could fire Bubba from school? Wouldn't that be cool? Just kick him out and tell him to never come back. I could eat lunch without him flipping over my tray. Play four-square without him hogging the ball. Line up for class without him taking cuts and shoving the rest of us back. Oh, yeah. School without Bubba would be a whole new place.

I have to admit that our teacher, Mr. Green, tries to keep Bubba in line, but Mr. Green's already got one full-time job teaching fifth grade, and my mom says it's hard for him to take on another in the middle of it.

Plus, Bubba's sly. So no matter how hard Mr. Green tries, Bubba gets away with stuff.

Like lying.

And cheating.

And stealing.

My magic-rub eraser is in Bubba's desk right now with the initials B.B. gouged into it. So are some of my colored pencils. And probably my favorite The Gecko and Sticky magazine and the Dinosaurs library book I keep getting a reminder on.

It's not just my stuff that gets stolen. Bubba takes things from everybody. Even his friends, Kevin and Max. Actually, I think he steals from them the most.

The only thing Bubba's ever given anyone is names. I used to be Nolan Byrd. Now I'm Byrd-the-Nerd.

Or just plain Nerd.

Jake is Bucktooth. Trey is Butthead. Marvin is Moron. Todd is Toad, Ian is Fizz, Jenni is Worm-lips, Trinity is Pony-girl, Kayla is Freckle, Sarah is Kiss-up . . . everyone's got two names: one from their parents and one from Bubba.

His names stick, too. If Bubba calls you something a few times, you'll hear it over and over again from everyone. Some people like their names. Like Brian Washington. Even the teachers call him Gap because he wants them to. He doesn't have a gap between his front teeth anymore, but Bubba called him that in second grade, and he hasn't been Brian since.

So that's Bubba. He calls you names. He steals your stuff. He breathes putrid fumes in your face.

And even though I've always wanted to do something about it, I could never figure out what. I'm half Bubba's size and don't exactly want to die in elementary school.

So I just eat lunch far away from him, make room when he's cutting in line, and let him call me Nerd.

It's not fair, but at least I'm still alive.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Alvin Bixby: Hulking, knuckles of steel, hideous breath, foul temper. Kids call him: Bubba.

Nolan Byrd: Puny, power walker, math genius, can’t keep shoes tied. Kids call him: Nerd.

Bubba has been the bane of Nolan’s existence for five long years. So when Mr. Green asks the class to become reporters, Nolan decides he’ll write an exposé—on Bubba. He doesn’t want to sign his name to it (that’d be suicidal), so Nolan creates a secret identity for himself—on the Internet. He launches as a place where truth and justice prevail—and bullies get what’s coming to them.

This hilariously triumphant story is for any kid who’s ever dreamed of unleashing their own inner superhero!

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