Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab

Nick and Testa's science project mysteries are winners. First in the series is High Voltage Danger Lab
When I was a kid, I used to love books with mystery, magic, and adventure. i would browse the shelves of the children's section of my local library, looking for titles or covers that would catch my eye. Yeah, yeah, you can't judge a book by its cover, but you don't know until you read the inside. Anyway, as I was in the library with my nephew, I started browsing the shelves. The nephew has no interest in reading, so I was just amusing myself. That's how I noticed the Nick and Tesla adventures. So far, there are three that are available and all are newly published. I started with the first book in the series, Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab. Nick and Tesla are 11-year-old twins, who have been sent to spend the summer with their Uncle Newt, who lives in California, while their parents go go Uzbekistan to study soy beans. Uncle Newt is a weird, mad scientist, who seems like the last person who should be watching children for the summer. But Uncle Newt has a lab, and he tells Nick and Tesla that they can use it all they want. After making a bottle rocket, the pair set it off, where it lands in the yard of a haunted looking mansion. The mansion may be haunted, but it isn't empty. There are two men there who are supposedly doing construction work on the house, two very nasty Rottweilers, and a little ghostly girl who warns Nick and Tesla away. As Nick and Tesla try unsuccessfully to recover the rocket and Tesla's pendant that can off as the rocket whizzed by, they become embroiled in the mystery of the house.

The reason this book series caught my eye is because of the bright, colorful covers. What is really cool about the books is that they contain instructions on how to build the gadgets used in the books. In Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the reader can learn how to make:
  • a low-tech bottle rocket and launcher
  • a mints-and-soda fueled robocat dog distractor
  • a semi-invisible nighttime van tracker
  • a Christmas-is-over intruder alert system
  • a Do-it-yourself electromagnet and picker-upper
The instructions are easy to follow, although they will require some help from an adult. In fact, I know that I want to try some of them with the nephew to see if i can encourage an interest in science and reading. The authors are "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, and they do an excellent job of melding mystery with science. The series also has a website, where Science Bob demonstrates the projects in the books. The website and the books are really cool, and I highly recommend them for the budding scientist in your household. I wish that there were books like this when I was a kid!

Other titles in the series are:
  • Book 2: Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage
  • Book 3: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle
  • Book 4: Nick and Tesla's Super Cyborg Gadget Glove--available October 7, 2014

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