Tuesday, November 26, 2013


By “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
Published by Quirk Books
Copyright © 2013

Review by Anthony Kendrick

Encyclopedia Brown meets Bill Nye the Science Guy in this tweener Mystery with lots of great projects to keep you busy long after you finish the book.

Nick and Tesla have been sent to live with their Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents are in Uzbekistan studying soybean irrigation. Uncle Newt is quite the eccentric inventor and struggles mightily as the parent/guardian sort, but on the up side he doesn’t keep tabs on their whereabouts and he says “My laboratory is your laboratory. Go nuts!” So Nick and Tesla just might do that as they try to figure out what is going on at the strange old house at the end of the drive where there is always a remodeler's van but no work is ever done, two Rottweilers viciously protecting the property, and a strange pale looking girl at an upstairs window.

Nick and Tesla’s HVDL mixes science and fiction in just the right amounts to produce a fun little mystery that 4th-7th graders should really enjoy. And the directions for creating electromagnets, bottle rockets, burglar alarms and the like (with parental supervision) are bound to keep kids busy long after they finish the book. This would make a great summer reading book. (With the growing emphasis on STEM training in our public schools this is a great book to keep kids interest in science and technology.)

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