Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: "Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular" by "Science Bob" Pfugffelder and Steve Hockensmith

For any kids interested in movies and making their own homemade movies, Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular is the perfect easy-to-read novel.

Nick and Tesla are spending their summer living with their inventor uncle while their scientist parents are away on a mysterious work trip. To entertain themselves, the kids and their new friends begin filming their own action movie complete with homemade props for special effects. The kids even get a chance to visit the scene of a big-time superhero movie being filmed in town. However nothing seems to be going as planned, and the children believe someone is trying to sabotage the movie. Using inventions, cunning, and critical thinking, the four friends work together to solve the mystery and save the movie.

As in all books in the Nick and Tesla series, this story contains several inventions/experiments that you can do as you read along. All require an adult's help but are mostly able to be completed by the child. Learn how to build a device to keep a smart phone steady while filming, a robotic grabbing arm, a stunt dummy, a grappling hook (with wrist launcher!), and zombie makeup. The instructions are all clearly written and a list of materials needed is provided. The inventions are described right after they are mentioned in the text so that you can use them along with the characters.

The mystery was decent, even though it was predictable. The best part is always reading about which things Nick and Tesla notice and how that ends up helping them solve the mystery.

As a part of the series, this book spent very little time "at home" with eccentric inventor uncle Newt, and only briefly mentioned the larger mystery of what was going on with Nick and Tesla's parents. There is, however, new information at the end, setting up for the next exciting installment in the Nick and Tesla series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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