Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristlebots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself



Crime-fighting kids return in fun, science-drenched mystery.

What parents need to know

Educational value

As in the first Nick and Tesla book, Robot Army Rampage includes lots of information for curious scientists and detailed instructions for youngsters to build their own projects -- in this case, robots. Note that the book begins with a safety warning; parents should supervise children as they build the electronic devices the book describes.

Positive messages

The Nick and Tesla series shows young readers how kids can use their own scientific knowledge and creativity to solve problems -- and that girls and boys make great scientists.

Positive role models

Nick and Tesla are exemplary young scientists and problem-solvers, but the adults in this second book of the series are not very helpful.


There's a sense of suspense and danger in several scenes, as well as a few exploding robots and lab experiments gone wrong, but no one's hurt.


The kids' uncle Newt has a crush on a new woman in town.

Not applicable

Brand names mentioned include La Quinta Inn, Slurpee and 7-Eleven, a Tesla car (as opposed to the girl character), SpaghettiOs, and Pokemon.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, as in Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the first book in this new series for and about young scientists, Nick and Tesla's Army Robot Rampage features 11-year-old twins living with their Uncle Newt for the summer. Once again, along with their new friends Silas and DeMarco, they stumble upon a crime and use their scientific know-how to solve it. There are detailed instructions for building electronic robots, but before you let their kids try this at home, parents will want to note the safety warning at the beginning of the book. The story has suspense and danger, as well as a few exploding robots and failed lab experiments, but no one's injured. On the whole, kids who love science and building will find Robot Army Rampage an entertaining, clever mystery.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Book 2 of the Nick and Tesla series ROBOT ARMY RAMPAGE picks up two weeks after the end of Book 1. The 11-year-old twins are still in Half Moon Bay with their Uncle Newt while their parents are supposedly consulting on some agricultural issue in Uzbekistan. Nick and Tesla's friend Silas asks for their help: A very valuable comic book, one the family needs to sell to stay afloat financially, has been stolen from his dad's store. Silas suspects a local antique dealer. Meanwhile, a woman who's an expert on robotics and who soon attracts Uncle Newt's interest takes over the local hobby shop where Nick and Tesla buy their project supplies. With Silas and their friend DeMarco, the young scientists/crime-fighters swing into action to figure out who has the comic -- and what robots have to do with a crime wave in their town.

Is it any good?


Nick and Tesla's adventures in science and mystery-solving are highly entertaining, especially to science-loving kids. The crime-solving isn't too sophisticated, but the authors manage a seamless, ingenious blend of science and mystery. Another nice quality: These books depict women and girls as successful scientists without ever making a big deal about it. We highly recommend this series for middle graders and tweens who love science and building.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about girls and science. What qualities make Tesla a good scientist? Would you like to be able to build robots like the ones Nick and Tesla make?

  • What other books have you read about kids solving mysteries?

  • Kids, try building one of the robot projects in the book (but be sure to ask a grown-up for help).

Book details

Authors:"Science Bob" Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith
Illustrator:Scott Garrett
Topics:Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Robots, Science and nature
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Quirk Books
Publication date:February 4, 2014
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristlebots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself was written by

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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; OK 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


I think this book is good for all ages, but mostly 8 and up. This book is GREAT, AMAZING and totally AWSOME. I teaches you how to make robots and there is a wonderful story.
What other families should know
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