Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown - Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

Summary: Super-smart kid inventors Nick and Tesla Holt have outsmarted crooks, spies, and kidnappers, but now it’s time to crack their biggest mystery yet: where the heck are their parents? With the help of their eccentric Uncle Newt, the twins trace the clues to their missing Mom and Dad, scientists working on solar-power research for a clandestine government project. They’ll need all their wits, along with an assortment of homemade gadgets, to outsmart the criminal mastermind who’s trying to turn solar power into a secret weapon. Featuring instructions for building and using five awesome solar-powered contraptions—a hot dog cooker, alarm bell, listening device, model car, and nighttime LED signal cannon—this sixth installment is sure to please budding scientists and sleuthers alike. (Summary and image from goodreads.com.  I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)

Review: They’re back!!  Nick and Tesla are sick of not hearing about their parents.  They are sick of knowing Agents McIntyre and Doyle are out there and doing something, but they want to know what’s going on.  It’s time to take matters in their own hands - and one way or another, they will find their parents, this time, with their Uncle Newt’s help.

Pflugfelder and Hockensmith are back in full form for this book - possibly the conclusion of the Nick and Tesla series.  From the very beginning chapters, I could tell a difference in the storyline and writing.  They had somewhere to go, and they were anxious to get there.  It made me so excited to keep reading.  That kind of energy was perfect for the book, as it showcased the anxiety two intelligent and frustrated twelve year olds would naturally experience in Nick and Tesla’s situation.  The pace didn’t let up, either, propelling the story all the way through to the last page.  And unlike so many Middle Grade books, there isn’t a chapter or two of sappy, perfectly ending fluff.  The action literally ends with the last sentence.

The science experiments that are inherent in the series are awesome.  My oldest, a huge fan of this series, can’t wait to get started on any of them — and as they’re all solar-powered, my environmentalist seven year old can’t either.  However, I don’t know how our neighbors are going to feel about solar powered spy gear being deployed in such close proximity to their homes … 

As I said earlier, this could possibly be the last book in the Nick and Tesla series.  I hate to see this series end, but this is a good and a natural conclusion point.  I look forward to any more collaborations between Pflugfelder and Hockensmith - definitely a team that shouldn’t part ways!

Rating: Five stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  Ninja grandmas aren’t nice.  The bad guy also plans to microwave the White House.

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