MY VIDEO GAME ATE MY HOMEWORK Will Level Up Your Character Education

When 13-year-old mechanical prodigy Dewey Jenkins is tapped to fix a virtual reality (VR) video game portal, it kind of comes to life and eats his science project. Determined to get back the only thing standing between him and summer school, Dewey, his twin sister, and their two best friends plunge through the portal to rescue Dewey’s homework. 

There, Dewey must leverage both his spatial smarts and his dyslexia to beat the game – and to save his friends’ lives. 

Thank you to Kidlit Exchange and to DC Comics for the ARC of MY VIDEO GAME ATE MY HOMEWORK, which I received in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Stats

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level : 3 – 7
  • Paperback : 160 pages
  • Publisher : DC Comics; Illustrated Edition (April 1, 2020)
  • Language: English

Loved

  • Hansen spells out VR, just subtly enough that a less tech-savvy reader can understand without embarrassment.
  • Tech-obsessed Gen Z kids getting a boost from a retro 80s robot, was adorable.
  • Spoiler: Dewey saves everyone’s lives in the video game (and wins the science fair in the real world) by using his mechanical genius to come up with a way around his reading difficulties. The self-esteem/self-empowerment messaging around this theme is brilliant.
    • About the Author discusses Dustin Hansen’s dyslexia as a child… and his amazing career as an adult. Talk about inspiring.
  • Super cool video game elements sprinkled throughout.

To note, the cover of the book makes the story look scarier than it is. The zombie rats and barfing mega-lizard are more cool than frightening. 

Caveats

  • It could be an ARC quirk, but the pages in my copy weren’t numbered. It could also be a Kelly quirk that I find that annoying. 

Diversity

  • Three of the main characters look to be people of color (Dewey looks Black specifically) but race isn’t central to the story.
  • Dewey’s gaining self-confidence alongside learning to work around his dyslexia is a major subplot (The “Lie the Main Character Believes”, being “I can’t because I’m dyslexic”). As a person living with a TBI, his struggles in explaining to his sister how his brain works differently, really hit home.
    • Also, THANK YOU for showing that someone who learns differently can still be extremely smart!
    • And bravo for illustrating that being differently-abled isn’t about changing yourself; it’s about learning to thrive with the tools you have.
This is what it’s like when your brain works differently. It’s not a choice or mindset to be dyslexic.

Verdict

This is a wholesome, heartwarming adventure story with an awesome premise and powerful messages of inclusivity, empowerment, and self-esteem. Come for the cool story, and stay for the character education.

MY VIDEO GAME ATE MY HOMEWORK is out now from DC Comics. 

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