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Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Novel with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself [Hardcover]

Science Bob Pflugfelder , Steve Hockensmith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Nov 2013 Nick and Tesla (Book 1)
Nick and Tesla are bright 12-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they're sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It's not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own-engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects. In Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous-or so much fun!

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (5 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594746486
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594746482
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 566,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

..".the combination of exciting elements and innovative DIY projects in action yields a guaranteed pager turner."--"ScienceBuddies.org" "Real project blueprints are included along with this tale of 11-year-old siblings who create outrageous contraptions and top-secret gadgets."--"Los Angeles Times" """["Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab "is] a great way to show kids that problems can often be solved by applying a bit of creative energy with some tech know-how. And Nick and Tesla (and Uncle Newt) are the perfect companions for your young reader looking for some (safe) adventures."--"Geek Dad" "A mystery, adventure, and activity book all rolled into one entertaining story....Plenty of excitement, with science."--"Common Sense Media" "Part mystery, part mad science...the story will leave readers wondering what mayhem will be forthcoming."--"School Library Journal" ..".a strong start..."--"Publishers Weekly"" " "Engaging characters and brisk plotting make this a fun and educational read."--Jennifer Ouellette, author of "The Calculus Diaries "and "The Physics of the Buffyverse" "A promising first offer in a series that offers plenty of appeal for middle-grade and middle school readers.-"--"Kirkus" ""Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab" has the perfect formula: Mega-watts of funny writing plus giga-hertz of hands-on science equals fun to the billionth power!"--Chris Grabenstein, "New York Times" best selling author of "Escape from""Mr. Lemoncello's Library" "Suspenseful, funny, and loaded with do-it-yourself robots, rockets, and burglar alarms. Nick and Tesla are an unforgettable new detective team, sure to inspire an entirely new generation of scientists and readers. Can't wait for the next book!"--Amy Herrick, author of "The Time Fetch" "A book with action, adventure, mystery, humor -- and instructions on how to build rockets and robots. What more could young readers possibly want?o

About the Author

Science Bob Pflugfelder is an elementary school teacher based in Newton, Massachussetts. He has made many television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Dr. Oz Show, and other media outlets. These are his first books. Steve Hockensmith is the author of a New York Times best seller (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls) and an Edgar Award nominee (Holmes on the Range). He lives in Alameda, California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Science Equals Fun 11 Nov 2013
By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla are not having the summer they'd planned. Instead of relaxing with friends and a family trip to Disneyland, they are hustled off to their uncle's when their parents have to rush off to Uzbekistan for some kind of soy bean irrigation breakthrough. Ah, the life of government scientists' kids.

They haven't seen Uncle Newt in years. He's a cross between a mad scientists and an absent minded professor. Not exactly the best guardian, but he lets them have (almost) free reign of his lab. That's how Nick and Tesla come to build a water powered rocket. But on its first flight, it lands in the yard of a mysterious house. Trying to get it back, Nick and Tesla stumble on something strange. What is happening? And will their gadgets help them solve the case?

This book aimed at middle grade readers should be a big hit. The story is interesting, but the gadgets that Nick and Tesla make to help them solve the case will really appeal to the audience. There are instructions for recreating the gadgets in the book, and kids will love that aspect of things.

As far as the mystery goes, it started a little slowly, but once it got going it was very interesting. It's a short book, and I think it will appeal to young readers who are reluctant to pick up a book. The characters were a little shallow, but kids won't care. And what do you expect from 230 odd pages.

This will make a great Christmas gift, giving kids something to read and then given them ideas for projects after they are done. In other words, it will keep them occupied during the break.

Personally? I'm already looking forward to the sequel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected. 30 Oct 2013
By Karen K. Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought this book would consist of short tidbits of contrived plot between experiments and was willing to put up with that, thinking it might be fun for my son--but actually, the book does have a real plot, and a few gadgets are thrown into the mix along the way. Much of the story is farfetched on both a narrow level (such as the young protagonists being on the same level about gadgets they can build, looking at a couple of objects lying around and suddenly having a Eureka! moment together as they realize what those objects can become) and a broad level (the typical black SUV following the kids around, the idea that they would immediately stumble on a complex situation in a mysterious old house their first day on vacation), but that doesn't make the story much less fun. It's pretty entertaining, actually. The diagrams and instructions are fairly clear, and the projects have a reasonable level of complexity for the target age group, particularly given the strong suggestion to involve adults.
There is still some mystery remaining at the end of this book--hopefully, Nick and Tesla will work toward gaining more information about it in their next adventure.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging story for kids, interesting projects 17 Oct 2013
By Lenny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The premise of the book is interesting. There's the story of the adventure of the twins Nick and Tesla, and some gadgets they built, with instructions if you want to build your own. I passed the book to my daughter (elementary school age), and while she said she enjoyed the book, she didn't provide me with any details, so I had to read it for myself.

The writing is engaging, the characters are interesting, and the story flows easily. It suffers from some of the flaws as most children's books. Almost all the adults in the story are portrayed as incompetent, eccentric, hostile, or "the bad guys" - or a combination of them. They name the location where the adventure took place specifically (Half Moon Bay, California) but failed to mention anything unique or special about the location. Things that happened in the book did not quite make sense when all is revealed. "High Voltage Danger Lab" is also misleading. A little bit of mystery is left unexplained, most likely to be continued in the sequels.

The projects themselves range from extremely easy (the burglar alarm) to mildly complicated (the air rocket). They should not take long to complete and parts are easily available.

I reviewed an advance reading copy of the book so I can't comment on the final layout.

Overall, I think it is a fun book for kids that provide them with some interesting project ideas when they're done with the story. I look forward to the sequels.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery and Science Equals Fun 6 Oct 2013
By Mark Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla are not having the summer they'd planned. Instead of relaxing with friends and a family trip to Disneyland, they are hustled off to their uncle's when their parents have to rush off to Uzbekistan for some kind of soy bean irrigation breakthrough. Ah, the life of government scientists' kids.

They haven't seen Uncle Newt in years. He's a cross between a mad scientists and an absent minded professor. Not exactly the best guardian, but he lets them have (almost) free reign of his lab. That's how Nick and Tesla come to build a water powered rocket. But on its first flight, it lands in the yard of a mysterious house. Trying to get it back, Nick and Tesla stumble on something strange. What is happening? And will their gadgets help them solve the case?

This book aimed at middle grade readers should be a big hit. The story is interesting, but the gadgets that Nick and Tesla make to help them solve the case will really appeal to the audience. There are instructions for recreating the gadgets in the book, and kids will love that aspect of things.

As far as the mystery goes, it started a little slowly, but once it got going it was very interesting. It's a short book, and I think it will appeal to young readers who are reluctant to pick up a book. The characters were a little shallow, but kids won't care. And what do you expect from 230 odd pages.

This will make a great Christmas gift, giving kids something to read and then given them ideas for projects after they are done. In other words, it will keep them occupied during the break.

Personally? I'm already looking forward to the sequel.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 30 Dec 2013
By K. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I picked this for my 9.5 year old son. He was more interested in learning how to build the projects then he was in the actual story line provided, it didn't seem to bring him into the story, he went directly to the experiments to see what they were all about. May be he would read the story if the experiments weren't highlighted on separate pages.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great science and vocabulary 31 Dec 2013
By Kristi Gilleland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The story started off great, but with boring looking projects. Then later the story started to drag, and the projects got more exciting and better. The best projects in the book were towards the end, and they also had the best story integration and explanations.

The vocabulary is great. There's lots of scientific words sprinkled throughout the book, along with Nick and Tesla, who tend to think rather logically, which make them good science role models.

The projects are generally made with easy to find or cheap to buy household materials. My two favorite ones were the intruder detector, which is made from a 9 volt battery, a LED or Christmas light, some wire, and 2 quarters. The project is great, but the book just sort of throws the science out there, without a very clear explanation of what a circuit is, and it discusses a short circuit as being an explanation why a detector like that wouldn't work well, but it never really explains what a short circuit is. That maybe best- it can lead to further discussion if the child asks alone.

One really good missed opportunity that I felt was really tragic was when the kids were searching Google. It would have been such a great opportunity for them to have a little discussion about formulating search strings and adding in some operators. Kids get that. They would go right to a computer and try it, and have an advantage in research forever after playing with it a few times.

There's going to be more of these books it seems, and I like these characters. It reminded me a bit of how Carol Marsh does her kid's history/geography books, which is just brillian. (The Real Kids, Real Places Books) I just took off a star because I feel the science is a bit dated. Yes, mentos and coke, that's something kids have seen in recent years, and it's a cool science experiment, but I tend to like the really useful things...things that kids won't just go COOL over, but they will incorporate into their lives. I also felt the book was pulling punches a bit. Not with the vocabulary, or the storyline, or with the projects or project construction, but with the actual science.

There was a kid with a skinned knee. How about talking a very quick bit about cleaning it up and caring for it, even if it was just a 'We need to get that cleaned' in the story? It floors me how many kids these days do not know basic self care for minor wounds! That's the kinds of missed opportunities I see in these books.

The storyline drug a bit in the middle too. It seemed like extra story was put in to work in the fun and easy black light experiment.
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