In the Highly Scientific Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire, Frances O’Roark Dowell gives us ‘Mac,’ a curious young scientist who Kirkus Reviews calls “one of the most charmingly engaging new characters in the modern chapter-book scene.”
There have been four books in the Phineas L. MacGuire series. They are available individually, as well as in a boxed set, from your retailer of choice.
Here’s what you need to know about Phineas L. MacGuire, boy-scientist extraordinaire, aka Mac:
1. He’s allergic to purple, telephone calls, and girls, and can prove it.
2. He’s probably the world’s expert on mold, including which has the highest stink potential.
3. He does not have a best friend. He does, however, have an un-best friend, who he does not — repeat, not — want to upgrade to best friend status.
Here’s what reviewers are saying about the Highly Scientific Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire:
“[P]roves that kids can be smart and funny.” — “Publishers Weekly”
“Mac [is] one of the most charmingly engaging new characters in the modern chapter-book scene.” — “Kirkus Reviews”
“Full of amusing faux-scientific observations as well as actual scientific facts, this lighthearted…book should appeal to any young reader who can stand a little mold.” — “Booklist”
“This is a funny, easy read that will entertain both average and reluctant readers. The characters are thoughtful, genuine kids who are creative in their problem solving and truly understand the meaning of friendship.” — “School Library Journal”
Awards and Nominations for Books in the Series
California Young Reader Medal Nominee
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)
Georgia Children’s Book Award Nominee
Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee (AZ)
Land of Enchantment Children’s Master List (NM)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award Master List (MN)
Nevada Young Reader’s Award Nominee
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award Nominee
Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Master List (FL)
Virginia Readers’ Choice Award Master List
William Allen White Children’s Book Award Master List (KS)
Bank Street Best Books of the Year
Eleanor Cameron Golden Duck Award
Here’s how Phineas L. MacGuire was introduced to a ton of new readers in 2014:
In 2014, General Mills asked Frances to write a fourth installment in her popular Phineas L. MacGuire series so the company could include it in boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios cereal as part of its Spoonful of Stories campaign. The result was Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Cooking, a book that was released in three parts by including small paperback books in boxes of cereal. So in this way millions of kids across the country were introduced to Phineas over breakfast. Frances’s publisher also released the book in the regular way so that readers who missed an installment or who don’t like cereal.
Here’s what young scientists should know about Mac:
He has his own website. GoPhineas.com is full of scientific information and news for your scientists who want to Be Like Mac!
Phineas L. MacGuire… Erupts!
In Phineas L. MacGuire… Erupts!, Phineas Listerman MacGuire (a.k.a. Mac) does not have a best friend. He does, however, have an un-best friend. And he does NOT, under any circumstances, wish for this un-best friend to become his friend. But the teacher does not know this, and has paired them together as science fair project partners. Worse, this un-best friend wants the project to be on dinosaurs, which is so third grade. But is Phineas going to convince this un-best friend to do the project on mold instead when he doesn’t even want to talk to that person?
Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Slimed!
In Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Slimed!, Mac’s goal for the school year is to be the best fourth grade scientist ever. It’s a tall order, but he’s confident that he can achieve his goal, especially since Aretha has asked him to help her earn a Girl Scout badge by creating the mold that produces penicillin. After all, who knows more about mold than Mac? And how many fourth graders can say that they’ve reproduced penicillin? But the school year gets a lot busier when he has to manage Ben’s class president campaign and deal with his new babysitter, Sarah Fortemeyer, the Teenage Girl Space Alien from the Planet Pink. How is he supposed to focus on mold now?
Phineas L. MacGuire… Blasts Off!
In Phineas L. MacGuire… Blasts off!, Mac is less than up-to-date on planetary happenings. If he’s going to be the best scientist in the fourth grade, Mac has to set his sights a little higher. Well, actually a lot higher: Outer Space. But, space camp is expensive and Mac’s mom says he can go only if he earns the money himself. But, where is he going to find enough money for a week on Mars (or a pretty close simulation there of)?
Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Cooking!
And in Phineas L. MacGuire… Gets Cooking!, Phineas L. MacGuire — scientist extraordinaire — has a new chore: cooking dinner every night. He may be a genius, but he knows nothing about following a recipe. A pinch? A dash? A smidge? This doesn’t seem very scientific to him. But he’d better learn quickly if he and his friends are going to win the $10,000 Bake-Off prize. And to make matters worse, Evan Forbes, the school bully, has taken a liking to Phineas’s brownies… too much of a liking. Cooking is kind of like chemistry. So maybe this whole recipe thing won’t be too bad after all. But can Phineas keep his cool in the kitchen?