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Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself

4.5 9
by Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith, MacLeod Andrews (Read by)

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Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their


Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.

In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 4–6—Twins Nick and Tesla are sent to stay with their uncle while their parents travel abroad. Uncle Newt is a mad scientist, which suits the kids, who are both science enthusiasts. When they make a rocket that lands in the yard of a creepy house, they discover that not only are the grounds protected by Rottweilers, but there's a girl on the second floor who urges them to leave. Meeting up with neighborhood kids DeMarco and Silas, they investigate and find a suspicious SUV following them and a nefarious plot they help to foil. Narrator MacLeod Andrews does a terrific job fully voicing this adventure, making the twins distinguishable and giving every other character a unique voice. Andrews is able to show Nick's cautious nature and Silas's fear. Because the text contains science projects the readers can build, Andrews does his best with the list of items needed and the instructions, though there are references to a booklet that is not included. The experiments sound difficult and most need adult assistance, but kids will likely be fascinated if they can get them to work. The characters are clever and empathetic, while the plot is fast-paced though ridiculous. Recommended for larger collections, especially those with budding scientists.—C.A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO
Publishers Weekly
A summer with Uncle Newt turns into a wild ride for 11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla Holt. First there’s Uncle Newt himself, a scatterbrained inventor who has them sleeping on a “biomass thermal conversion center”—i.e., a bag of compost. Then there’s the creepy old house nearby with locked grounds and guard dogs, where Nick sees a mysterious girl in the window. And what’s up with the black SUV following them everywhere? Pflugfelder and Hockensmith get their Nick and Tesla series off to a strong start, with narration divided between the siblings and five plot-related DIY activities interspersed, such as making an “intruder alert system” from a string of Christmas tree lights. Fearless Tesla and sensitive Nick are a tenacious and entertaining team, and their new friends and offbeat uncle create a strong supporting cast. The mystery of the girl in the house is wrapped up nicely, yet the stage is clearly set for future action. Garrett’s blue-tinted cartoons accentuate the plot’s more dramatic moments, and a sharp overall design, with circuitry diagrams flanking the pages, gives the book a polished, classic look. Ages 9–12. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“How do you connect students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) with fiction reading? Look for science adventures. Get started with the NICK AND TESLA series. Each book contains an engaging adventure revolving around a “build-it-yourself” science project.”—Teacher Librarian

“...the combination of exciting elements and innovative DIY projects in action yields a guaranteed pager turner.”—ScienceBuddies.org

“Real project blueprints are included along with this tale of 11-year-old siblings who create outrageous contraptions and top-secret gadgets.”—Los Angeles Times

[Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab is] a great way to show kids that problems can often be solved by applying a bit of creative energy with some tech know-how. And Nick and Tesla (and Uncle Newt) are the perfect companions for your young reader looking for some (safe) adventures.”—Geek Dad

“A mystery, adventure, and activity book all rolled into one entertaining story....Plenty of excitement, with science.”—Common Sense Media

“Part mystery, part mad science...the story will leave readers wondering what mayhem will be forthcoming.”—School Library Journal

“...a strong start...”—Publishers Weekly
“Engaging characters and brisk plotting make this a fun and educational read.”—Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Calculus Diaries and The Physics of the Buffyverse

“A promising first offer in a series that offers plenty of appeal for middle-grade and middle school readers.­”—Kirkus
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab has the perfect formula:  Mega-watts of funny writing plus giga-hertz of hands-on science equals fun to the billionth power!”—Chris Grabenstein, New York Times best selling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
“Suspenseful, funny, and loaded with do-it-yourself robots, rockets, and burglar alarms. Nick and Tesla are an unforgettable new detective team, sure to inspire an entirely new generation of scientists and readers. Can’t wait for the next book!”—Amy Herrick, author of The Time Fetch
“A book with action, adventure, mystery, humor -- and instructions on how to build rockets and robots.  What more could young readers possibly want?  'Nick & Tesla' is a great book that will keep your kids enthralled with its intriguing story -- and inspire them with its clever science experiments.  I can't wait for the further adventures of these fascinating characters.”—Stuart Gibbs, Edgar-nominated author of Spy School and Belly Up
“I love the book! It combines science, intrigue and great fiction together in a wild ride for the reader. Nothing tickles me more than seeing a story really charged up with science. And the projects are so much fun! More please!”—Lynn Brunelle, four-time Emmy Award–winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and the author of Pop Bottle Science
“What kid wouldn't want to join Nick and Tesla and their wacky family? This is a great way for budding scientists to have fun while exploring the intricacies of physics, chemistry, and more--up close, personal, and hands-on!”—Jane Hammerslough, author of Owl Puke: The Book and Dino Poop: And Other Remarkable Remains of the Past
“Pflugfelder and Hockensmith debut a captivating series about crime-solving kid inventors in the spirit of Tom Swift and Alvin Fernald. But Nick and Tesla give us what their literary predecessors always omitted: blueprints for whiz-bang inventions that kids can actually build themselves (with some adult assistance). Electromagnets, tracking devices, rockets and the like. Hands-on science has never been so cool.”—Joseph D'Agnese, author of Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Eleven-year-old twins Nick and Tesla are sent to live with their absentminded Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents are in Karakalpakstan (a region of Uzbekistan) working on soybean irrigation (or are they?). When the kids arrive, their uncle is nowhere to be seen and when they find him glued to his basement laboratory floor in a giant orange blob, it is the first clue that they are in for a wacky summer. The twins have no time to be homesick when strange things start occurring-a black SUV seems to be following them and there's a mysterious girl in a window of a creepy "haunted" house. Befriended by two local kids, the foursome devise clever contraptions designed to outwit ferocious rottweilers (a Mints-and-Soda Fueled Robocat Dog Distracter) and solve the mysterious happenings before it's too late. The authors concoct experiments that science buffs will be delighted to try, with clear instructions and illustrations included (plus safety warnings about having an adult present and helping). Part mystery, part mad science, the story unfolds at a quick pace and is only a smidge far-fetched. With some unexpected plot twists and turns, and a cliff-hanger pointing to the next book in the series, the story will leave readers wondering what mayhem will be forthcoming.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Sent to spend the summer with a mad-scientist uncle in California, 11-year-old twins Nick and Tesla explore a mysterious, no-longer-abandoned mansion with gadgets they invent and readers can build. In this fast-paced adventure in which the twins inadvertently foil a kidnapping, there are further mysteries: Why is that black SUV following them, and just what are their parents doing in Uzbekistan? There's danger lurking: a pair of Rottweiler guard dogs, a neighbor girl who stands in the window with a sign that says "Go Away," and two men who don't want intruders. Their uncle's lab, with its "Keep Out" sign, is full of intriguing and useful--if possibly explosive--material. Tesla is a girl with guts and good ideas; Nick is equally clever but more cautious. The instructions for making a rocket launcher, a robo-cat, a semi-invisible nighttime van tracker, an alarm and an electromagnet are clear and the diagrams helpful. Opportunities for humor abound, especially in the character of the distracted inventor uncle, first seen covered with sticky orange slime. Art includes circuit board plans and circuit diagrams; pencil illustrations show the twins and their friends, DeMarco and Silas. A sequel, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage, is scheduled for 2014. A promising first offer in a series that offers plenty of appeal for middle-grade and middle school readers. (Adventure. 9-13)

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Nick and Tesla Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

“Science Bob” Pflugfelder is an elementary school teacher based in Newton, Massachusetts. He has made many television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel LiveThe Dr. Oz ShowLive with Kelly & Michael, and other media outlets. These are his first books. Steve Hockensmith is the author of a New York Times best seller and an Edgar Award nominee. He lives in Alameda, California.

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Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
This story starts at the beginning of eleven-year-old twins Nick and Tesla’s summer vacation where they have been shipped off to live with their Uncle Newt for the summer, as their parents had to make a work related trip to Uzbekistan to study soybeans. From the very beginning Nick and Tesla have doubts about this explanation but they do not have much time to think about it as one of their experiments, a homemade rocket, launches Tesla’s pendant into the yard of a creepy old house with a pale and scared looking girl peering out the window warning them to go away! Of course this mystery will not be ignored as Nick and Tesla work to find out what happened to this girl. Along the way they get thrown into more than they had ever expected including two very unfriendly criminals, killer dogs, and a mysterious black SUV that keeps following them. The only way to find out exactly what is going on is to put their minds together and come up with contraptions that will not only solve the growing list of questions but keep them alive. These two authors do a great job of combining a mystery with science allowing a reader who is interested in just one or both to enjoy this book. There are enough elements that keep the reader guessing, such as the pale scared looking girl staring out the window, the creepy old house, and a mysterious black SUV, that any mystery book lover would want to continue turning the pages. On the other hand the ideas, contraptions, and plans that Nick and Tesla come up with are engaging for anyone who thinks scientifically. Then the way these two components fit together to create an appealing and page turning story is surprisingly wonderful. For any reader who enjoys science, experiments, and building your own contraptions this book would definitely deliver. In addition to a fun, adventurous story there are step-by-step instructions to build homemade burglar alarms, electromagnets, and even a rocket launcher! For me the story was a good mystery with inviting and believable characters that fit and worked together well. Both Nick and Tesla are characters who are easy to relate to and I found myself wanting to search for the answers to their questions as much as they did. However, I am not a person who understands the mechanics of the experiments and contraptions they were building even though seeing that they worked to solve the mystery was quite amazing. Quill says: This book has elements of both science and mystery so if a reader and especially a young pre-teen reader is interested in both of these elements it is a winner.
JennaP More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored this book. The first in a series, Nick and Tesla's adventures in High Voltage Danger Lab are engaging and fun. Following the scientifically inclined siblings, the books contains directions for some of the experiments contained in the story. Giving detailed instructions, diagrams, and general knowledge, the experiments are a fabulous addition to the story. Middle grade readers will love the experiments that are scattered throughout the reading. You get to create the same experiments that Nick and Tesla do during the book. As a teacher, this is a book that I could easily adapt to fit my science lessons- especially during our summer school session. The book is filled with learning and information without the reader ever even noticing that they're being taught some really cool concepts. The writing is quite good as well, and the mystery that is the undercurrent of the story is well developed and intriguing. The fact that this is a series is also great- I think that kids will love following Nick and Tesla through the rest of their adventures. I can't wait to read the next title in this series, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage! 
rpwpyw More than 1 year ago
I have 3 grandsons ages 10-13 and they will love this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes can we start tomorrow please