Middle-graders rejoice! Authors Steve Hockensmith and “Science Bob” Pflugfelder are back with another instalment in the increasingly enjoyable Nick and Tesla series.
Our intrepid siblings are back for more scientific shenanigans aimed at 9-12 year-olds, this time on the trail of a valuable stolen comic book.
Still living precariously with their eccentric Uncle Newt, and still none the wiser as to the whereabouts of their parents, Nick and Tesla are enlisted by their friend Silas to find a comic book stolen from his father’s store which would have kept them out of debt, and the store from closing.
Meanwhile, Uncle Newt has become enamoured with fellow scientist Hiroko Sakurai who now owns the Wonder Hut, a veritable Aladdin’s cave of supplies for inventors.
As usual the pair employ their know-how to help find and retrieve the stolen item and once again we are treated to more DIY science projects, this time mostly following the robotic theme of this second book in the series. The experiments, while slightly more complicated than those in the first book, are well-illustrated, easy to follow and most parts can be sourced in the home either from old computers or even old broken toys. Grown-ups will need to help out with assembly as there is some soldering required but it’s a good way of including the parents in the adventure.
The authors have settled in nicely to the world of Nick and Tesla and Half Moon Bay, this being a much more confident effort than its predecessor. Existing characters are further developed, with headstrong Tesla taking the lead, and new characters introduced along the way. The action is fast-paced and the writing funny and punchy and while the story structure deliberately incorporates many of the clichés of classic children’s literature, it generally does so with a nod and a wink and it’s own sense of style and attitude.
A highly entertaining addition to an innovative series.