Review by Alyssa
November 2013 by Quirk Books
Amazon + Good Reads
"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 who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.
In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!"
*This book was sent to Alyssa for review!
Nick and Tesla follows two siblings who are sent to live with their reclusive, mad scientist Uncle while their parents travel over seas for an important science related trip. While the two kids are pretty well behaved, they're clearly out of their element... and so is their Uncle Newt. Newt has no idea how to properly house and entertain two young kids and so, Nick and Tesla are left to their own devices. They quickly get wrapped up in the shenanigans of two neighborhood kids and an eerily abandoned house down the street...
I found Nick and Tesla to be a very fun and quick read. I'm not a member of its target audience (as I am in my mid-twenties), but I was still able to appreciate Nick and Tesla, and enjoy the adventure that they went on. I felt as though the authors successfully navigated the middle grade genre - simple enough for kids to get into, but complex enough that young readers have to actively pay attention to the plot line.
What sets the book apart from others is that the authors included detailed instructions for the science experiments that Nick and Tesla do in the story, and invite their readers to try it out at home (with parental supervision, of course!). I felt as though the story itself would be enough to engage younger readers but I loved that Pflugfelder and Hockensmith went this extra step.
I think that I would have enjoyed this story more if I had a middle grade reader to read along with me. I'm not typically a fan of middle grade books for multiple reasons, and I think that a member of their target audience would help me to appreciate the story more. Regardless, Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab was a fun read, and would be perfect for the summer!