Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder

Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage
Authors: Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith
Series: Nick and Tesla
Publication: Quirk Books (February 4, 2014)

Description: Nick and Tesla return in an all-new, robot-filled adventure!

When a rash of robberies hits the town of Half Moon Bay, 11-year-old sleuths Nick and Tesla are determined to catch the criminals—but to do so, they'll have to build a host of new gadgets and gizmos! In this robot-themed follow-up to Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the brother-and-sister duo build four different droids out of ordinary household objects—and illustrated instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build them, too! Make bristlebots that buzz, hoverbots that float above the ground, battlebots that duke it out, and more! Can Nick and Tesla catch the criminal mastermind—and foil his army of rampaging robots—before it's too late?

My Thoughts: Nick and Tesla are still living with their eccentric Uncle Newt and wondering why they haven't heard from their parents. They are trying to distract themselves by working on their own inventions in their uncle's laboratory. Uncle Newt is working on a new type of vacuum cleaner powered by rotten bananas with his usual limited success.

To get out of the house after an unfortunate explosion, the family heads down to Rinalli'a pizza place. They are too early and decide to spend some time in the local hobby shop - the Wonder Hut. They find the store transformed from something dark, dusty and smelly into something bright, clean, and fresh. The also find that the new owner is Hiroko Sakurai who knew Uncle Newt from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Uncle Newt is immediately smitten. The kids are fascinated with the new robots that are all over the store and challenge each other to create the best robot. Plans are included in the book for both robots Nick and Tesla build.

The mystery in this story centers around, first, the theft of a very rare comic book that Nick and Tesla's friend's father found at an estate sale. Selling the comic book would save the business which has fallen on hard times. Nick and Tesla begin to investigate. Then a local jewelry story is robbed too. The mystery is entirely middle school appropriate and even throws in a few "red herrings."

Budding young scientists will be urging their parents to take them to the nearest Radio Shack so that they can build the variety of robots (and a super soaker) the way Nick and Tesla do. The detailed plans for all the devices are included in the book.

This was another successful mystery for young scientists with engaging characters and some humor too.

Favorite Quote:

During surveillance at a local antique store.
"Hey, Herbert," she said a little too loudly. She pointed at a bulky piece of wood-and-glass furniture that looked like a cross between a cabinet transparent refrigerator. "Look at this...item."

"Oh, yeah," Nick said. "It'd be perfect for...uhhh...that place. With the stuff. By the thing."
I got this finished copy for review from Quirk Books. You can buy your copy here.

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