Rated 4.8 ~ Juniors ( 8 – 12 )
Parents and teachers will probably enjoy reading Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular just as much as kids. This is the fifth book in the Nick and Tesla series by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, and illustrated by Scott Garrett. It’s suitable for ages 8 to 12, and will appeal to anyone with interests in science, making movies, designing and building animatronics, formulating extreme-make-up and solving mysteries (which probably applies to almost every kid on the planet).
Nick and Tesla Holt (a brother-and-sister team) together with their friends Silas and DeMarco (and DeMarco’s pesky little sisters) are making a movie starring aliens; however, when the children are invited to visit a real movie set downtown by Aunt Zoe, a movie producer, the real adventures begin. As the team races to figure out who is trying to sabotage the movie, they and the reader meet a whole cast of characters that invade the story along the way. From Zomboids, the super-hero “Metalman,” to a suspicious-looking props guy and a Sudoku-crazy security guard, the DIY-gadget-designer duo and their friends track clues with the help of their brilliant homemade devices.
Featuring step-by-step instructions on how to build devices and create goopy alien make up, Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular is a book that stimulates the imagination, develops reading skills and presents STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concepts as an entertaining kid-friendly medium. The vocabulary in the story is advanced enough to challenge keen readers, but the chapters are short, the pace fast, and illustrations plentiful, so that readers at all levels will stay actively engaged.
The bold and true-to-life illustrations by Scott Garrett are a perfect fit for this tale of movie mystery. The visual, almost 3D, angle gives the effect of seeing the pictures through the lens of a movie camera, all adding to the atmosphere. The graphics set alongside the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Also, each activity advises when an adult should be asked to help.
Even though Nick and Tesla’s Special Effects Spectacular is the fifth in the series, it gives enough of the backstory for readers to understand Nick and Tesla’s motivations. This book is ideal for science and math teachers who want to interest students in their subjects, for parents who enjoy challenging kids with DIY projects, and for middle grade readers looking for an interesting interactive story. Nick and Tesla are healthy positive role models whose realistic and humorous dialogs drive a storyline that offers lots of talking points and is engaging from beginning to end.
Book 5 in the Nick and Tesla Series