Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like teleportation, human gills, and attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when he's experiencing his own personal Big Bang. Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. Waylon would rather be friends with everyone. Well, everyone except the scary new kid, Baxter Boylen. Waylon's older sister, Neon, is shooting away from the family. He wishes everything would go back to the way it was before she started wearing all black and saying "What's the point?" all the time. Just when it looks as though Waylon's universe is exploding, something happens to bring it all together again, and it is, without a doubt, One Awesome Thing.
Pennypacker shifts attention from Clementine to one of the popular character's fourth-grade classmates, science-loving Waylon Zakowski, in this first book in a spin-off series. Through Waylon's rational perspective, Pennypacker offers smart insights into the frustration of realizing that life isn't entirely in one's control with his classmates dividing themselves into "teams" and his older sister embracing a new Goth identity, Waylon feels like he's living his own version of the Big Bang ("Everything in his universe was exploding away in different directions"). Waylon's insecurities, bigheartedness, and awe of the world at large should easily endear him to readers. Art not seen by PW. Ages 6 8.