Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pflugfelder & Steven Hockensmith

Title: Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself (Nick and Tesla #1)
"Science Bob" Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith, and Scott Garrett (Illus.)
Publisher: Quirk Books
Acquired Via: Publisher
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor.

But it’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—and engineering all kinds of outrageous contraptions to save their skin.

In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers and burglar alarms to mobile tracking devices and more. Science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!

My Review

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab is a cute middle grade novel by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder (phew!) and Steve Hockensmith, with super cute illustrations by Scott Garrett. It is about Nick and Tesla Holt, who are science-savvy kids staying with their odd Uncle Newt while their parents are out of the country on business. Not only does the book have an age-appropriate mystery, it also provides several science experiments (with illustrated instructions) for young readers to attempt with their favorite science-loving adult.

The main characters, Nick and Tesla, are twins and it makes for a great dynamic - instead of excessive sibling squabbles that come with an age difference, they are close and able to be friends. They worked well together in their plans to retrieve Tesla's necklace from the scary neighborhood house and solve the mystery of the girl hiding on said house's second floor. They are good kids, despite getting into shenanigans under the less than watchful eye of their uncle.

The mystery in Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab is not exactly a nail-biter for me, but I haven't been a tween in nearly two decades. I think there is enough suspense to hold a young reader's interest but nothing too intense. Likewise, the villains in the story are obvious "bad guys", but they won't be the source of nightmares.

The science experiments in the novel are pretty cool based on how they work in the novel. Everything that Nick and Tesla does during the course of the story is provided to readers to attempt. Being as I am a lazy coward, I doubt I will do any of them myself. (Kids should absolutely not do these alone like Nick and Tesla!) I think the experiments are fantastic ideas for science-obsessed kids to use as learning tools - with a responsible adult (not like Uncle Newt). Now, if you're worrying kids will think these experiments are safe to do alone, just know that there are plenty of warnings in the book discouraging kids from trying to do them alone.

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab was a fun lower-middle grade read for me, and it kept my seven year old daughter's interest in brief intervals. (She enjoyed the parts she glanced at.) I think nine to twelve year olds who love science will love this book, as well as adult fans of MG.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an finished copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

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