Imagine your perfect summer- sleeping in, playing with your friends all day, maybe you’ll go on special outings to the zoo, or the amusement park, or even to the beach. For Nick and Tesla, their summer isn’t looking so great and their first clue happens when their Uncle Newt doesn’t show up to the airport to pick them up. Nick and Tesla‘s parents are scientists that are studying the growth of soybeans in Uzbekistan and they have sent them to stay with their uncle for the summer. The brother and sister takes a taxi ride to their uncle’s home only to find him stuck downstairs in a huge orange glob. Just when they thought that it couldn’t get worse it does- their uncle doesn’t have any edible food in the house except for some cake that his cat has licked the icing off of and he has them sleeping on some sort of squishy bio-beds which are mattresses that decompose food while they sleep. The only great thing about staying with Uncle Newt is that they get to use his lab and anything in it. They decide to make a rocket.
While firing a homemade bottle rocket (instructions included in the book), Nick loses his special necklace that his parents gave to both him and his sister before they left. The necklace ends up in the yard of an abandon house; the problem turns out that there are two giant Rottweilers guarding the place. Tesla has a brilliant idea on how to get the necklace back- to distract the dogs. While distracting the dogs with a robocat (instructions included in the book, too), Nick climbs the fence to find the necklace but instead of finding his necklace he sees a young girl in the upstairs window with a note that says,” Go Away!!!! !!!!!!!!” Nick starts running moments after because the dogs are no longer distracted by the robocat and are headed his way. Once he gets away safety he tells Tesla just what he saw. Tesla knows something isn’t right and plans to find out who this girl is and why is she in this abandon house.
This book is a mix of Scooby Doo, the Series of Unfortunate Events and a science experiment book all rolled into one. These books are written by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder, an elementary school science teacher and Steve Hockensmith, a mystery writer. Together they created a unique series of books featuring several experiments that you can do with materials that you find around your home. It is fast paced and has zany, funny moments throughout which make it a fun read. School Library Journal recommends this book for readers in grades 4-6.
Recommended by Tracy Alexander