Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself

Common Sense Media says

Kids fight crime with science in edutaining mystery.

Age(i)

2
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab is full of science facts, all integrated into the plot and explained in ways that will be clear and fascinating to kids. Readers will learn about electricity, pressure, magnetism, chemistry, and earth science, and they'll see exactly how to build the gizmos that Nick and Tesla create.

Positive messages

Nick and Tesla are kids, but they're able to get the upper hand on grown-up bad guys because of their scientific know-how and creativity. Knowledge is power.

Positive role models

Grown-ups are largely absentee in this novel, but twins Nick and Tesla model excellent problem-solving skills and self-reliance.

Violence

There's little actual violence in Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, but there are some cartoony explosions in the lab and a threat of serious violence from two watchdogs.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Uncle Newt buys several cases of Beefaroni. The kids use Mentos to propel a couple of their inventions.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

As a story alone, NICK AND TESLA'S HIGH-VOLTAGE DANGER LAB is engaging and well-paced, but what makes this book special is the scientific information it offers 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.

Families can talk 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.

Book details

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
Number of pages:240
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 8 years old June 6, 2014
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD!!!!

This book is AWSOME. It teaches you how to make robots and there's a wonderful story. I think 8 and up, but mostly all ages.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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