There was a series of YA/kids books I read in grade school (late 70s, early 80s) about a science curious boy who would get into a series of adventures with his friends. I think these adventure were usually prompted by an eccentric uncle who would send said kid something in the mail.

At one point, the uncle sent the kid a home computer but because of the time frame and technology being what it was. it ended up being a bust for the kid, because it actually made his homework harder (it would do math for him but because he had to show his work, he ended up having to do the math anyway, I'm sure there was a lesson there).

At one point the kid ends up befriending a nearby local scientist and through a series of very plausible circumstances (sarcasm for those who don't know me), ends up flying in a home made rocket ship to a far away planet populated by sentient dogs (think "Planet of the Dogs"). The dogs were friendly and he gradually was able to speak their language and be accepted in their society. At one point, he teaches the dogs how to play baseball, which was weird because the smart dogs would catch the ball in their mouth and then throw it with their paw (I question how that could happen but that's the least of my issues).

What was strange about this particular book in the series was, up till then, there was nothing fantastic or science fictiony about the series. And at the end of this book, the series went back to normal, with the kid being in a series of normal (although improbable) set of adventures.

Even though I remember reading these in the 70s/80s, something makes me think these were written in the 60s, based on my memory of the writing. Can anyone help me with this memory, which I am convinced is real?

1 Answer 1


These sound like the Danny Dunn series (1956-1977).

The story involving the computer would be Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine (1958), though the computer was a mainframe-type brought to a home instead of a personal computer. As described in the Wikipedia article for the book, the use of the computer for math homework results in him being assigned much more advanced math homework. I recall specifically that a point is made about how learning to program the computer to do the mathematics correctly required a more comprehensive understanding than simply learning to do it oneself.

I don't recall the story about dog-like aliens being a part of any of the Danny Dunn books. Since you say that this story seemed out of place, is it possible that you are conflating a story from a different series?

  • He actually goes into space in the first book, and translates alien Communications in a later book, but indeed, I don't believe there are any dog like aliens.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 29, 2022 at 17:55
  • I think you are correct about the Danny Dunn answer. I may have conflated two different series. Thanks for your help. Aug 31, 2022 at 14:07
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    @IanWilliams If you think this is the correct answer, please accept it by clicking the checkmark next to it (as explained in the tour).
    – Null
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:13

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