Sunday, May 4, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Science Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Nick & Tesla #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great mystery with fun projects to build later
Cons: A couple of minor ones for adults, but none for the target audience
The Bottom Line:
Nick and Tesla are
Spy hunters in their new case
New gadgets to help

Who Is the Spy Their Mother Warned Them About?

Take two kids who are budding scientists and put them in the home of their slighty off center mad scientist uncle, and you've got a recipe for laughs.  Throw in a mystery and a secret that the kids' parents are hiding, and you've got the this fun series by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith.  Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle is the third book in the series, and it is one kids will definitely enjoy reading.

When the summer began, twelve-year-old twins Nick and Tesla were suddenly shipped to their uncle's house in Half Moon Bay while their parents went on an important government research trip.  Over the last two books, they've come to suspect that the cover story they were given wasn't the entire story, as evidenced by the black truck that followed them in book one.  Book two ended when a warning phone message from their mother, and that's where this book picks up.

As this book opens, Nick and Tesla are trying to make sense of that message from their mother warning them that someone is spying on them.  While Nick is suspicious of everyone they have met while staying with their uncle, Tesla is more willing to take a wait and see approach.

All that changes when one of the pendants their parents gave them is stole while the house is filled with strangers.  Is the spy among the group?  Can Nick and Tesla create some new gadgets to catch the spy in the act?

I thought after the first couple of chapters that things might be a bit slow and obvious in this book.  I really should know by now to never judge a book by the first two chapters.  After that, things picked up in a big way, and I couldn't wait to see who the twins would ultimate unmask as the villain.

I've remarked in the past that the characters are not quite as strong as they could be.  Based on the books I read and loved as a kid, I'm sure this is only an adult looking at a middle grade novel.  As long as the plot moves along, the target audience won't mind in the slightest.  Trust me, there is nothing to worry about here.

Between their uncle and his crazy inventions and some of the things that happen along the way, there are some great laughs in this book.  I'm sure kids will get as big a kick out of some of the developments as I did.

Which brings us to the science experiments.  There are step by step instructions for the new gadgets that Nick and Tesla create to help the catch the spy.  We get things like a code wheel, fingerprint powder, and a spy camera.  A couple are easy, but most would require some adult help, at least to create the project initially.  These projects would be great for upcoming summer vacation, for example.

I found Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle a fast and fun read.  Kids who enjoy mysteries or science experiments will enjoy reading this book.  I may be outside the target age range, but I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Looking for more science and mysteries?  Check out the rest of the Nick and Tesla Science Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received this book via Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  As always, follow the link to read about more marvelous middle grade noels.


  1. Will be sure to check this one out. Have a few (and more) mystery loving grade three's who I think will like this. Thanks.

    1. Yes, I think this series would be perfect for them.

  2. This series sounds like great fun. Can't wait to see for myself and recommend to a few budding scientists. Nice review!

    1. Sounds like you've got a few good candidates who would enjoy the series.


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