Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants: The Questioneers, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants: The Questioneers, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Scientific thinking saves the day in funny, kind adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Between Ada's experiments and the way she relates to her friends and family, this book is chock-full of scientific facts and life lessons.

Positive Messages

Be curious and persistent. Learn as much as you can about a problem and then use that knowledge to solve it. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ada's parents and extended family are very encouraging. They ask her questions and let her be herself.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Andrea Beaty's Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants is a funny, science-based adventure that's accessible to young readers while pushing them to learn fairly advanced vocabulary and concepts. Second in the Questioneers series of chapter books based on the characters in Beaty's popular picture books, this one has Ada taking on issues of gravity, buoyancy, and backyard birding. It's a fun read, jam-packed with nonstop science and facts and vocabulary, and sibling bickering that seems right on target.

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What's the story?

Curious Ada is always researching and doing experiments in ADA TWIST AND THE PERILOUS PANTS, but her hypothesis about why hot coffee smells more strongly than iced coffee and participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count get interrupted by a friend's plea. Rosie asks Ada to save her Uncle Ned, who floated away while wearing his famous helium-filled pants. Ada jumps to help, figuring out how to use his buoyancy to stabilize him, then uses some quick thinking (and her brother’s equipment) to see if her hypothesis works to bring Uncle Ned home.

Is it any good?

Author Andrea Beaty makes science come alive for young readers in a way that combines complex principles, new terms, and funny adventures. Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants puts science at the center of the story in a way that encourages readers to learn the new and advanced vocabulary words sprinkled throughout, and to try to figure out how Ada will help Ned before she figures it out herself. Ada's family and friends (mostly) love her obsession with testing and experimenting, and there are some nice moments when Ada's brain moves so much faster than her mouth and she remembers how important it is to take time to explain herself logically -- as her mom says, to "start from the start."

It may seem out of balance that the plot's zany premise is set against such a large amount of hard science, but that's quickly forgotten amid the fun story and vibrant characters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how, in Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants, Ada finds a way to apply her scientific knowledge to real-life problems. When have you used something you've learned in school or books to solve a real problem?

  • Have you ever had so many ideas in your head that you can't explain them clearly? What happens when your brain moves faster than your mouth?

  • Are there a lot of books like this -- full of science and facts, with a fun story, too? While reading this book, did you focus more on the story or on the science?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science

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