Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
Nick and Tesla are twins, named after a famous scientist in Holt family tradition. They are spending the day, along with their friends Silas and DeMarco, at a local museum where their Uncle Newt(on) has been hired to fix an animatronic exhibit - of famous scientists, of course. But things keep going wrong. Tesla soon figures out that someone is sabotaging the exhibit, and the four 11 year olds are off and running, determined to figure out who is trying to ruin the learnasium’s grand reopening.
Nick and Tesla, budding inventors in their own right, are smart and confident characters. Silas and DeMarco are supportive, helpful friends and provide much of the comic element of the story. DeMarco gets words mixed up and Silas is convinced that the malfunctioning animatronics are a sign of an impending robo-geddon.
Each of these characters has an important role in solving the mystery, with Uncle Newt and other adults helping when needed.
I won a copy of Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove on booklikes and received it in July, but knew that I would be staying with my sister and her family in September, so I saved reading it until I was with my middle-school aged niece and nephew. Well, both claimed that they were too old for the book, but my 11 year old niece (M.C.) was happy to do a read-aloud with me as long as she was involved in the review process. So, we started taking turns reading chapters to each other. Not long into it, we were both laughing and M.C. was asking if it was part of a series. She was happy to see that it was. My 12 year old nephew refused to sit with us, but just happened to wander into whichever room we were in… repeatedly.
There are words that will challenge a young reader, and which challenged my niece when she was reading aloud. This was great practice for her, and she was able to master a few new words. Having an accent thrown in when reading the recorded voice for an animatronic scientist made reading aloud even more fun.
We decided not to actually build the gadget glove, but enjoyed looking at the instructions and drawings to figure out how it would work. The glove is built one finger at a time, each placed right after the chapter in which that finger is made in the story.
One of the things that I appreciated in this book was the cooperative and supportive relationship between Nick, Tesla, their friends, their Uncle and his “kind-a sort-a girlfriend” Hiroko. I also appreciated the way the four 11 year olds were respectful of adults, something I didn’t always find when working with actual 11 year olds.
A strong point of the writing is the ending of chapters. Every time I would try to stop reading at the end of a chapter, M.C. would say, “That’s a horrible place to stop.” And then I would agree to read “just a little bit more…”
This book is a fun and mystery filled romp through a museum, or “learnasium,” that will leave young readers wanting more.
By the end of each chapter, you want to keep reading more. There are some confusing words, such as askew, akimbo, Renaissance, learnasium, animatronics, and more. It is an awesome book, and I would love if they made it into a movie.