Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself: Nick and Tesla, Book 1
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Nick and Tesla's Danger Lab by Science Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith is a mystery, adventure, and activity book all rolled into one entertaining story. After they're sent to spend the summer with their mad-scientist uncle, Newt, 11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla become mixed up in some dangerous situations, and they use their creativity and scientific knowledge to protect themselves and get out of scrapes. The book includes step-by-step instructions for building the projects the twins make. The story also includes a couple of menacing Rottweilers, scary and suspenseful scenes, and some gross-out moments, but no real violence -- just plenty of excitement, with science. Cartoon-style illustrations by Scott Garrett help realize the story and clarify project instructions. A second book, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage, is scheduled for release in February 2014.
What's the story?
Nick and Tesla's scientist parents must travel to the Middle East for work, so they send the kids to stay with their Uncle Newt for the summer. Newt's a no-show at the airport, so the kids take a taxi to their uncle's address. Newt turns out to be a crackpot inventor with a house full of experiments and surprises. He's not much of a hands-on caretaker, but he lets them use his laboratory, where they build a pressure-powered rocket. This is the first of several science projects detailed in the book, so readers also can build a rocket and a battery-powered magnet, for example. When the rocket takes off, it snags on a necklace that Tesla's parents gave her. Tesla feels her parents meant her to keep the necklace, but efforts to retrieve it lead the twins and a couple new friends, Silas and DeMarco, into the middle of a dangerous mystery that requires all of their creativity and scientific know-how to solve.
Is it any good?
As a story alone, this book is engaging and well-paced, but what makes it special is its scientific information and the clever integration of instructions for building several cool projects. Budding inventors will identify with these smart, problem-solving young scientists, and they'll absolutely love making their own magnets or rockets at home. Instructions for the projects are clear and age-appropriate, and informative drawings from illustrator Scott Garrett will help kids follow the directions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mysteries. How does this book compare with others you've read in which kids stop crime and solve mysteries? Do Nick and Tesla make good crime-fighters?
Why do you think Nick and Tesla's parents sent them to stay with Uncle Newt?
Try building one of the inventions from the book, but make sure to get help from a grown-up where indicated.
- Authors: Science Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith
- Illustrator: Scott Garrett
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Robots, Science and nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Quirk Books
- Publication date: November 5, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love mystery and science
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.