Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Plenty of humor and great characters in this fun mystery
Cons: Mark Carstairs isn’t on every page!
The Bottom Line:
Robots on rampage
In delightful mystery
With science projects
Sabotage at the Learnasium
If I hadn’t already been a fan of Steve Hockensmith, I might never had picked up the Nick and Tesla books he’s writing for middle graders with “Science Bob” Pflugfelder. However, I’m very glad I did because I’ve been enjoying them. I got the first three via Amazon’s Vine program, but the fourth never appear that way, so I had to get Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove on my own. I enjoyed it just as much as the first three.
Nick, Tesla, and their friends DeMarco and Silas are spending the day at the X-Treme Learnasium. The science museum in town is holding a grand reopening that night as they rebrand themselves and open all new exhibits. One of those is the Hall of Genius featuring animatronics of many famous scientists. Nick and Tesla’s uncle is trying to do the last minute things to make sure these figures are all ready for the opening.
However, a test run results in the figures going haywire. Tesla is certain is was sabotage and leads Nick and their friends on a quest to figure out what is happening while Uncle Newt tries to repair the figures in time. Who would want to see the new learnasium fail? Will the exhibit be ready in time?
Each book in the series features Nick and Tesla building gadgets with objects around the home to help them solve the mystery. (Okay, so some would need to be purchased, but they are fairly easy to find at Radio Shack.) There are then instructions for building those gadgets yourself after you’ve finished the book. I know as a kid I would have loved that. This time, all the gadgets fit on a glove, and DeMarco and Silas’s reactions to the glove are pretty funny.
But this glove is also extremely helpful in solving the mystery at hand. There are twists and some nice red herrings along the way to the perfect solution. The climax is fun as well, with one of the best confrontation scenes I’ve read recently.
I’ve really come to like the characters in this series, and they continued to charm me here. They are a little better developed than the characters in some of the old series I read as a kid, and there’s even some growth in Nick and Tesla in this book. The cast of new characters is great as well. I especially loved the learnasium’s new director, who speaks in such jargon it never failed to make me laugh.
In case you haven’t picked up on it, there’s a lot of humor in this book. I know I was laughing at plenty of the scenes, and I’m sure kids will laugh as well.
So let’s talk the flaw of this book. One of the suspects is a man named Mark Carstairs. And this absolutely wonderful character wasn’t on every single page! Can you believe this oversight? It would have made the book perfect!! On a serious note, I didn’t know about the character’s name until I was reading the book. The first time he was mentioned, I had to stop and make sure I was reading it correctly I was so surprised. Obviously, I enjoyed it any time my name sake was on the page.
Even without that brilliant character, I still would have enjoyed the book. It was creative and fun with a great mystery that kept me turning pages. Heck, I finished Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove in one day and can’t wait for the sequel.