I read a couple of good books this week that I want to share. The first was a free copy I read through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I don't often completely enjoy my reads from this program, so I thought I would share the review:
"Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab" is written by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, the author of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." The story is about Nick and Tesla, science loving twins, who are sent to Half Moon Bay, California to stay with their Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents study soybeans in Uzbekistan. Their uncle is your typical absent-minded professor, inventing and blowing up experiments in his basement lab. He lets the kids use the lab for their own inventions, as long as they stay away from anything dangerous.
I loved the story. I enjoyed how the kids used logic, how they solved problems by creating devices, and how the book shares instructions for building these devices, such as an intruder alert system and an electromagnet. I like how the kids and their friends don't try to solve everything on their own, but look to the adults for guidance when things get dangerous. Much healthier than most kid adventure books where the child is resigned to figuring things out on their own because they don't think the grown-ups will understand. There is a lot packed into this book: a good story with mystery and suspense that will even interest the parents and activities to try out together. It's listed for 9-12 year olds, but I don't know the adult that wouldn't want to build their own Mints-and-Soda Robocat Dog Distractor. I would definitely recommend this book to friends in our homeschooling community.
The second book I bought because I am a fan of the author. "Fortunately, the Milk" by Neil Gaiman is a short funny story about what happens when a father goes out to get milk for his children's breakfast cereal (and his tea). Imagine if Dr. Who settled down, had kids and went out to buy milk for them and you have this tale. The father's adventures with dinosaur Professor Steg move at a dizzying speed as dad tries to hold on to that milk and bring it back home for his children's cereal. The pictures are charming and remind me of Quentin Blake's work on Roald Dahl's books. There is great inspiration for creative writing here.I kept imagining how we could make up our own funny adventure stories about doing something simple that ends up getting complicated. It is recommended for 8-12, but I think even a five year old would enjoy it as a read aloud, with the humor only improving with age!