The Secret of the Magic eyePad

Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures–Book 1

Children - Grade 4th-6th
222 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2020
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Author Biography

Award-winning author Marsha Tufft loves snorkeling in the ocean with sea turtles, teaching her dogs cool tricks, and solving problems by coming up with her own designs. Marsha is a retired engineer with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and a doctorate degree in materials engineering. She enjoys developing experiments targeting girls to give them fun experiences with science, engineering, math, and design.

Because math is so important to success in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, math – Marsha has developed fun experiments that show the magic and power of math.

Marsha blogs about her projects, designs, and experiments at:

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jose Cornelio for Readers' Favorite

The Secret of the Magic eyePad by Marsha Tufft is a beautifully written story for fourth to sixth graders, featuring an interesting female protagonist: Putney Hicks. She is an imaginative twelve-year-old girl with a magic eyePad, an aspiring artist who is worried sick over her move to an experimental STEM school. Apart from other worries, there is Sue Wexford, the girl who taunts her, and this time around, she might end up in a far worse situation with her. But can Sam, her magic mentor, be of any help? There is a lot of fun in this book. The fact that the protagonist has to move to a new town is already a huge challenge for a youngster like Putney. This means she has to make new friends and start again all over, and there are things to get scared about with the unfamiliar terrain.

Marsha Tufft does an incredible job of writing about science, curiosity, and self-discovery. Creating Sam, the friend and mentor who appears as a hologram, brings some magic into the story and expands the world of the protagonist. I loved the way they get to know each other. There is something magical in this book and readers will enjoy that part of the story. But the part about product design is written in a fun way and packed with information and insight that will fuel the problem-solving skills of young readers and ignite their imaginations. The Secret of the Magic eyePad is written in the first-person narrative and it is a humorous voice that reflects the thoughts and feelings of a young character. It is filled with fun activities, interesting characters, and lessons on solving problems. It is as realistic as it is magical.

Jennie More

The Secret of the Magic Eyepad by Marsha Tufft is the story of a 12-year-old girl named Putney, who recently moved with her parents and two brothers to Hilton Head Island from Alaska, staying with her Great-Aunt Gertrude while they look for a house of their own. Putney is a clever, creative, and inventive girl, but she is socially awkward and finds it hard to make new friends. The story starts with her first day at school, and while she quickly makes new friends, she also has an enemy, Sue, who is constantly competing and sabotaging her efforts. With the help of her friends, her ingenuity, and a gift from her teacher, a magic Eyepad that comes with a Lizard friend, she looks for ways to overcome the challenges of her inventions and Sue’s trickery. The Secret of the Magic Eyepad is a fun mix of math, science, art, and design, with just enough adolescent girl drama to entertain readers.

The Secret of the Magic Eyepad by Marsha Tufft is enlightening and refreshing, teaching some essential life lessons that any young person and even adults need to learn. Putney is a bright and talented girl, determined to succeed. She realizes that she can only go so far alone, but she can go further as a team. She learns that it’s not enough to be intelligent and talented; you also must support the people around you and help them win. Not only do you learn about math, science, and art, but you also learn invaluable life lessons through this book. The Secret of the Magic Eyepad is a heartwarming, lighthearted, and well-written book.

Pikasho Deka

The Secret of the Magic eyePad is a sci-fi adventure book for children by Marsha Tufft. Twelve-year-old Putney Hicks is a science and math prodigy but often finds herself struggling in social situations. Putney is about to start seventh grade in a new experimental STEM school when she receives a mysterious gift from Miss Pepper, her favorite teacher from Kodiak Elementary. The gift turns out to be an "eyePad," containing an advanced interface of a holographic pixie named Sam. Accompanied by Sam, Putney is off to a great start in school, making friends and having tons of fun working on new science and design projects. Her only problem is Sue Wexford, a rich girl who never fails to embarrass Putney. However, with the upcoming Science Fair, Putney is determined to beat Sue in the design challenge. Will she succeed?

A fun-filled adventure novel for preteens, The Secret of the Magic eyePad is both entertaining and educational. Author Marsha Tufft tells a delightful tale of a talented young middle schooler who must find her inner self-confidence and stand up to her nemesis by doing what she always loved; science and math. The plot moves at a brisk pace, laced with plenty of preteen drama and creative tasks that middle schoolers will find enticing to read. The characters are likable and very relatable if you're a kid. Putney is a compelling character, who though immensely gifted and hard-working, continuously second-guesses herself for being socially awkward. I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret of the Magic eyePad, and looking forward to reading the sequels.

Kristine Zimmerman

Middle school can be a challenging time for all students. For Putney Hicks, it is even more demanding as she has just moved from Alaska to Hilton Head and is beginning her school year in a new place. The Secret of the Magic Eyepad: Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures – Book 1 by Marsha Tufft is an empowering story about a young girl who embraces her unique talents. Putney is gifted an eyepad from a former teacher that has a magical surprise. Putney loves using her skills to design and create things. She is curious about the natural world and excited to learn new sports. She meets new friends but also encounters a rival in her new school. How will Putney cope with this situation?

The Secret of the Magic Eyepad by Marsha Tufft is an original and engaging story. Tufft has created a well-rounded character in Putney. She has her doubts like all middle schoolers, but she also has an inner strength that is wonderful to see in a young girl. As Putney works on her project for school, Tufft introduces the concept of rapid prototyping. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book was the introduction of so many unusual things like underwater hockey, Kodiak Trail Rocks, and marble painting. The first book in the Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures series is a shining example of STEM education at its finest. Teachers, librarians, and kids will eagerly look forward to the next inventor adventure with Putney Hicks.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

The relocation from Alaska to Palmetto Dunes has been stressful for 12-year-old Putney Hicks. While searching for a permanent residence and waiting for their belongings to be shipped from Alaska, the Hicks family boards with Aunt Gertrude. Not exactly a social butterfly, Putney dreads going to a new school. However, she soon makes some new friends. The awesome curriculum involving both science and art appeals to her. Yet, Sue Wexford, the ultra-rich kid with a mean temperament, seems to have targeted Putney. Worse yet, Sue is obsessed with figuring out Putney’s new tablet, which has astonishing magic. As the conflict between the duo escalates, can Putney keep her secret safe? The Secret of the Magic eyePad, the first book in Marsha Tufft’s Putney Hicks Inventor Adventure series, can give you the answers.

Geared to readers aged 10-15 years, Tufft’s book is a masterpiece with a great storyline and even greater lessons. The novel will surely generate a love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in young readers. It will teach them to think critically, enhancing their problem-solving skills. I loved the learning curve Tufft incorporated in the plot, depicting the prototyping and designing steps that led to the perfect invention. The innovative curriculum at Putney’s school maintained a balance between science and art and highlighted the importance of healthy competition and teamwork. These lessons were complemented by an intriguing and fun plot featuring newly blossomed friendships, a little bit of rivalry, and a few instances of sleuthing. Tufft included just the right amount of magic to hold the plot together. The colorful illustrations were at once informative and relaxing. As a reader with a scientific background, I found The Secret of the Magic eyePad to be a unique resource suitable for including in school libraries and reading assignments.