Nick and Tesla’s High Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
Eleven year old twin brother and sister, Nick and Tesla, are sent to live with their crazy Uncle Newt while their parents are off on an agricultural mission on the other side of the world. The children know that they are in for an “interesting” time when they realize that their Uncle Newt forgot to pick them up from the airport. After taking a taxi to Uncle Newts house, the children are greeted with a remote-controlled lawnmower that has gotten out of control and has mowed over the neighbor’s flower gardens. They proceed into the house and find out why Uncle Newt wasn’t at the airport to pick them up… He was glued securely to the floor of his laboratory.
As the story progresses there are hints that make the twins start thinking that their parents are more than agricultural scientists but there is another mystery unfolding right in the neighborhood that grab their attention. Why are there big, mean dogs at the vacant house? Who is the girl in the window? Why is that black SUV following them?
What sets this story apart from other young reader mysteries is that this one includes science! Newt’s laboratory has a massive inventory of all sorts of pieces and parts to spark the imaginations of Nick and Tesla and they have been given permission to explore to their hearts content. During the story, they build a rocket, a dog distractor, a tracking device and more. Not only do they build them, but the book includes step-by-step instructions on how to build them yourself!
This book and the included science experiments would be great for 4th-6th grade aged kids who like mysteries and or science! Even though I didn’t try the science experiments, it was still a quick, fun read for the um, ahem, older generations as well!