Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine
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|Illustrator||Ezra Jack Keats|
|Preceded by||Danny Dunn on a Desert Island|
|Followed by||Danny Dunn and the Weather Machine|
Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine is the third novel in the Danny Dunn series of juvenile science fiction/adventure books written by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams. The book was first published in 1958 and originally illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. This is the first novel in the series to feature Irene.
Danny uses a computer that Professor Bulfinch has created for NASA to prepare his homework, despite Professor Bullfinch's warning that Danny is to leave the machine alone. With his friend Joe Pearson and his new neighbor, Irene Miller, Danny has some success with the machine before it is sabotaged. Danny figures out what is wrong with the machine and corrects the problem. Danny's teacher also learns about the machine, and has her ideas for the Homework Champions. Once she finds out, she thinks of a way to trick the kids.
The "homework machine" is in the style of the large mainframe computers of the 1950s, and one that uses paper punched cards. The concept of students using computers for research is common today; however, this computer was not merely a machine via which the drudgery of solving many three or four digit long division problems could be offloaded; it was also somehow able to accept "programming" of students' text books that enabled it to write reports on topics that were covered by the text books.
Amateur radio is used for the first (and possibly only) time in the series, with Danny and Irene attempting to get a homework question answered. The callsigns used would have been accurate for mid-western operators in that era but not for the mode used (shortwave). In any event, there was too much static and the kids resorted to opening the windows and talking across the alley.
- Paperback, 1958, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
- Hardback, 1958, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
- Hardback, 1960, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
MacDonald and Jane's
- Hardback, 1977, illustrated by Anne Mieke
- Paperback, 1979, #5 in their series
- Paperback, 1983 reissue, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine was turned into a musical children's album on both Golden Records (Golden LP 239) and Wonderland Records (WLP-338), with music composed by Julie Mandel.