Tag Archives: children’s book

Children’s Book Review: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Book: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle

Authors Bob Pflugfelder and Steven Hockensmith

Recommend: Definitely! Great for the young readers in your life…

So I got this book as an advanced reader copy after having reviewed the first two books in the series. I was happy to get my hands on this one, which i addition to the first two books have been passed on to my nephews.

These books again follow the adventures of the twins, this time both the twins and their uncle are being spied on and they must figure out what is going on before it is too late! I love the readability of these books for young kids and the way they make science look fun and interesting not only for the future but for things they can do now. I love this simple but fun way to integrate science into reading. It is a great example of cross-curricular material. This week, I gave the most recent book to my sister-in-law and she commented on how she was thinking about using it for homeschooling and that she liked the fact that the books seemed to stick to physics and engineering without diving into more controversial subjects, like evolution.

The idea of using fiction as a vehicle to science is a great one and after being inspired by my sister-in-laws’ comments, I just might have to show these to the teachers at my school.

Definitely worth the time to read and a great way to find a learning activity that your child will want to do with you.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂



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Books Review: Nick and Tesla’s High Voltage Danger Lab and Robot Army Rampage

Book: Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab

Book: Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage

Recommend: This is a great kid series that is heavy on the science in a really fun way!

So I was contacted by an agent on this one. I decided that I definitely wouldn’t mind reading some books and letting my librarian know if they were worth getting at the school and possibly sending them on to my nephews when I had finished with them and so I wrote back, volunteering to do a review on these. I am so glad that I did.

These books center around twins, Nick and Tesla whose parents have to go away on some kind of research trip. The two kids are sent to stay with their rather eccentric uncle who is a bit absent-minded professor combined with a bit of mad scientist. While the kids enjoy the freedom they have at their uncle’s house to experiment, they miss their parents and end up getting themselves in over their heads in both books.

A bit detective novel, a bit science manual and a whole lot of fun, these books include instructions to conduct some of the experiments in the books and to build some of the contraptions that are included. The book is very clear that kids should get adult supervision and some thing might require a parent read first so that the supplies are on hand when the kids get to that section of the book. However, the idea that kids can take what they are reading about and immediately create it is one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen since Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Not only am I going to be recommending this to my school librarian, I am also going to send it to my brother. I can see my home-schooled nephews getting a great kick out of these books because they love to build whatever they can get their hands on. Definitely worth picking up!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Filed under Children's book review, Review, Spy/intrigue

I think the movie was actually better than the book- there is a first time for everything

Book: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Recommend: It’s a nice light read with some Burton-like creepiness

I finally picked up a copy of Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I wasn’t aware when I saw the movie that it had started out as a book but when I heard who the author was, I knew I had to check it out. My online library had it available and so I checked it out.

The story is generally close to what is portrayed in the movie but honestly there is a huge dimension missing. Wyborn is not in the book! The whole story with his grandmother is not there at all! I thought that bit of plot added some interest to the character and made Coraline more accessible. I definitely felt his absence. I kept waiting for him to show up but he never did.

The book was a fun read and was decently log enough to tell the story well but not so long that a child would lose interest. It was worth the time it took to read but for once I think that the added characters from the movie and amazing animation did a better job of telling the story than the original text. If you are a fan of the movie, it might be interesting to check out or a fun read before you see it, but for the first time I can think of, I don’t prefer the book over the movie.

Final Rating:

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Filed under Children's book review, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy

Odd little book…

Book: Artemis Fowl
Author:Eoin Colfer
Recommend: Not particularly

So I was browsing through my friend’s nook books and saw that one of them had the first book in this series. I have been curious about it for a while but had just never gotten there. Some of my students have ranted about how amazing they are so I figured I would read it.

This seemed like a great plot line. Evil 12 year old mastermind tried to outsmart fairies for profit. Sounded like the makings of a great series. While the idea is amazing, it’s about the only thrilling part of the book. The main character Artemis, is flat and just dull to read. Like Lex Luthor without the bite. The Butler was more entertaining and had more emotional depth than Artemis. The fairies were interesting but I have never longed for traditional fairies more in my life! The technology was just an unnecessary distraction. You spend more time with the fairies than you do with the main character it seems and I wanted to kn ow what made this kid tick, but there seemed to be no substance there.

I feel like this book had so much potential and it didn’t meet any of it. A large part of me wants to rewrite the thing just to make it more interesting.

The biggest negative I found was the inappropriateness of this book for the target audience. As an adult an occasional swear word isn’t the end of the world, but in a book aimed at children, I found it offensive. The violence and descriptions weren’t necessary and I found Artemis to be a bad example for kids. I wouldn’t put this in the hands of any child I know.

If you’re looking for what not to do when writing a fantasy novel, this is a great book to read, otherwise don’t waste your money. I’m glad I borrowed this and didn’t pay for it myself.

Final Rating:


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Filed under Children's book review, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy