Ajax Bigelow has a problem. He really doesn’t like science, but he must write a science journal for his science teacher Ms. Turri “or else”. He decides to chronical the events in class as they study what he calls “stuff” and Ms. Turri calls matter. Ajax Bigelow’s Science Journal – Stuff begins with Ajax’s reaction to the assignment and his acceptance that he’d better do it. He begins as instructed by telling about his family – himself, his parents, and his older brother Sammy, who he considers “a pain”. The remaining 15 chapters, called journals, are short discussions of what happens in each of Ms. Turri’s lessons. The class studies such topics as mass, density, atoms and molecules, states of matter, mixtures and compounds, and much more. In all cases, Ajax is the rebel in the room, fumbling through activities and discussions while trying not to get a detention. The Table of Contents topics include: The Assignment About My Family and Me Journal 1, What’s Stuff Journal 2, Tiny, Invisible Stuff Journal 3, Atoms and Molecules Matter Journal 4, Mixtures Separate, Compounds Stick Journal 5, Kansas and Other States of Matter Journal 6, Property You Can’t Own Journal 7, You Can’t Kill Stuff Journal 8, Mole Day at Last Journal 9, Mass outside of Church Journal 10, How Dense Can I Be? Journal 11, Sink or Float? Journal 12, Freaking Out over Math Journal 13, Matter into Energy and Back Journal 14, Extra Credit – Ajax and Oscar Dark Matter Psychic Extravaganza Journal 15, Things I Learned about Matter Just When I Thought It Was Over Ajax’s friends, Oscar, Doormat, Purnell, and Franco all add excitement to the book in ways that middle school students will readily identify. Ajax has a love-hate relationship with two smart girls in the class. Edith is his special friend, who he likes from afar, while Remi is his enemy. Ajax thinks she’s a grade-grubber, and she thinks Ajax is a jerk. Meanwhile, Ms. Turri has to mediate all this activity and help these kids learn science. There are two big events in Stuff. The students attend Avogadro Middle School, named after the famous Italian scientist, Amedeo Avogadro. On October 23, they celebrate Mole Day (a real holiday celebrated by chemists) because of Avogadro’s creation of the mole, a unit of measure for enormously large quantities of things such as molecules. The school’s mascot is the mole that burrows underground and eats grubs, so students have a lot of fun on Mole Day. A second event is a project at the end of the study of matter. Ajax teams up with Oscar to have a Dark Matter Psychic Extravaganza in which they inform the class about the latest scientific knowledge about dark matter in a silly way. The underlying theme of Ajax Bigelow’s Science Journal – Stuff is that science can be interesting and fun. Nobody takes things too seriously in this class, yet there are good and somewhat challenging concepts taught. The book is written at a fourth-grade reading level, an easy read for most middle schoolers; however, the science concepts are applicable to most upper elementary and middle school science programs. Ajax Bigelow’s Science Journal – Stuff is written by David Cochran, an experienced educator, author, and publisher of Spigot Science for Kids and Classrooms. The book is illustrated by Jerry King. Each journal has a colorful cartoon that highlights the classroom activity. A companion website is available at http://www.ajaxbigelow.com. In addition to having sample chapters from the book, the site provides links to sites where you can buy the book. It has additional information about each topic as well as site and video links for each journal. It also has a teacher section that includes discussion questions for each journal and a list of concepts by journal. Each of the companion journals on the site can be accessed directly from the journal in the book.