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Houston,we have a problem!

Phineas L. MacGuire (a.k.a. Mac) is less than up-to-date on planetary happenings. (Marsquakes? Who knew?) If he's going to be the best scientist in the fourth grade, Mac has to set his sights pretty high. To outer space, actually. But Space Camp is expensive. Where is he going to find enough money for a week on Mars (or a pretty close simulation thereof)?

Houston, we have another problem: a gigantic, slobbery dog named Lemon Drop. Mac can earn the money he needs by walking Mrs. McClosky's yellow Lab, but first he needs to survive the walks and the slobber! Good thing Mac is a scientific genius with friends like Ben and Aretha. Together the three of them discover that Lemon Drop is no ordinary dog -- that Lab is a real-life Lab-oratory.

Photograph (c) Clifton Dowell

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Award; Where I’d Like to BeThe Secret Language of Girls and its sequels The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far AwayChicken BoyShooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Award; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; Falling InThe Second Life of Abigail Walker, which received three starred reviews; Anybody Shining; Ten Miles Past NormalTrouble the Water; the Sam the Man series; The Class; and most recently, How to Build a Story. She lives with her family in Durham, North Carolina. Connect with Frances online at FrancesDowell.com.

Preston McDaniels is the illustrator of the Phineas L. MacGuire series and Cynthia Rylant’s Lighthouse Family series. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska, with his wife and two daughters.

"[P]roves that kids can be smart and funny." -- Publishers Weekly

"Mac [is] one of the most charmingly engaging new characters in the modern chapter-book scene." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Full of amusing faux-scientific observations as well as actual scientific facts, this lighthearted...book should appeal to any young reader who can stand a little mold." -- Booklist

"This is a funny, easy read that will entertain both average and reluctant readers. The characters are thoughtful, genuine kids who are creative in their problem solving and truly understand the meaning of friendship." -- School Library Journal

More books from this author: Frances O'Roark Dowell

More books from this illustrator: Preston McDaniels

More books in this series: From the Highly Scientific Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire