I received Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Pflugfelder and Hockensmith as a review copy from the publisher and I would like to thank Rupa Publications for the same.
About the Book
An abandoned house at the end of the block. A mysterious girl in an upstairs window. A strange black SUV lurking around every corner. When Nick and Tesla Holt are sent to live with their eccentric Uncle Newt, they find their new neighbourhood is full of secrets. What the heck is going on?
To unravel the mysteries (and save their skins), Nick and Tesla must use everyday household objects to build electromagnets, rocket launchers, and other crazy contraptions—and instructions are included throughout the story so you can build them, too!
Eleven year olds, Nick and Tesla, lovers of gadgets and contraptions and things that go ‘ping’, had plans to go to Disneyland for their summer vacations. Instead, they are sent to Half Moon Bay, a small town in California, to spend the summer with their uncle, Newt Galileo Holt, their father’s elder brother, a self employed inventor. Their scientist parents, Albert and Martha Holt, horticulturists at the US Department of Agriculture, have to go to Uzbekistan to study soyabean irrigation. They are coming back on Labor’s day. Their parents give the siblings special necklaces before sending them to live with their uncle.
Once the kids reach Half Moon Bay, they realize that there is no one at the airport to receive them and so they take a cab and give him the address and reach their uncle’s house. Once there, they follow his voice to the basement an find him lying face down on the floor glued by strange orange foam which can be removed using a mysterious purple spray.
Their uncle, while going for his shower, tells them that as they like inventing, they are welcome to use his lab with the warning, “don’t touch this, DEFINITELY don’t touch that, this will melt a hole through the floor, and this will cause an explosion if you let these two mix. Otherwise, GO NUTS!”
The lab has a lot of stuff and in less than forty minutes, the two build a rocket, which lands in their neighbour’s yard along with Tesla’s necklace. And when they go to retrieve the necklace, they realize that the house is guarded by two ferocious dogs, Jaws and Claws. They try to distract the dogs and find that there are renovators in the house and they also see a girl in one of the windows of the house and she writes on a notepad asking them to go away. They make friends with two local children and realize that there is a black SUV which is following them.
Will they be able to solve the mystery and get their rocket and Tesla’s necklace? Who is the girl on the window? And why is the mansion guarded? Read on and find out.
The book has an interesting story which kept me glued to the book till early morning because I really wanted to know what happens in the mansion. Who stays there and why are they so secretive? The plot is simple with a well written story in simple English.
The characters are interesting and few, keeping the reader involved in the book. The siblings share a bond and they complement each other very well. Tesla is the adventurous one and Nick, the more cautious one. The children share a special bond with their ‘eccentric’ uncle.
I loved the way the authors have used the story to describe many experiments in the book. The instructions have been clearly given with diagrams for five different projects which can be made under adult supervision with different household materials.
Uncle Newt has a lot of interesting equipment, a pressure sensor doormat that rings his doorbell, an automatic lawn mower that starts and moves on its own, a weird coffee maker and a mattress made with food waste.
I found Nick and Tesla to be a quick read. I shall give the book to my kids during their forthcoming winter vacations to read and experiment with.