When I was a kid I my grandmother gave me one of those personalized children's books where you fill out a questionnaire about the child and get a book back. It said something like "Only KENDRA and her best friend KRISTEN could save their town of SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA from the terrible MILK DUD shortage. But could they get back in time for SOCCER PRACTICE?"
These books are WAY better than that. But it's as if I jotted down a few notes on what would be the perfect book series for my eleven year old son and someone wrote it for me. Only instead of being super-cheesy, it's clever and funny and totally awesome.
The good folks at Quirk Books sent me copies of the first two books in this series for my review:
Jack and I read both books and really enjoyed them. They are great as action mysteries, but their claim to fame is that the books are written by an author and a science teacher, together. So when our eleven-year-old twin geniuses build a rocket or a robot, detailed instructions by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder are included so that the reader can build one too.
And that's just what Jack did. All on his own, with exactly no help from me, he built a bunch of the projects suggested in the book. He even built a robot-making kit for a friend as a Christmas gift.
As far as the stories, I have great respect for authors who are able to write kid-centered action novels without resorting to kids lying and running away from their parents or guardians and refusing to consult authorities when it's obvious that that's what they should do. Author Steve Hockensmith manages to create puzzles and peril and adventure for the kids by leaving them in the care of a caring but distracted mad scientist uncle for the summer. Caring, distracted, and also hilarious.
These books are smart. They use interesting words and don't stop to explain what they mean (I hate that). The kids are unapologetically nerdy. They love science. (I love that.) They get along with each other. They have friends. They are not sassy. (I REALLY love that.)
The characters are fun and likeable. It's nice that one character comes from a big family, and another is an only child. There's something for everyone. The books have a moral center, but aren't ABOUT that. They're just fun. There is less peril and considerably less scariness than another book series I liked (and reviewed a few months ago).
They would be appropriate for both boys and girls. The publisher recommends them for 9-12 year-olds, which seems right. But younger kids who read at a higher level or older kids and adults who are just looking for a quirky, fun read will also enjoy these books.
I haven't seen them at the library yet, but the first is available from Amazon now. The second book will be released on February 4 and is available for pre-order. (Hey, did someone say pre-order? MY book is available for pre-order too!)
A third book in the series is slated for a May release. We can't wait to read it!
linking up with Jessica at Housewifespice for
Head on over to see what all the cool kids are reading this week.
Speaking of books, if you'd like a chance to win a copy of my soon-to-be-released book, as well as over $300 in other prizes (including Amazon gift cards!) head on over to Equipping Catholic Families. I'm helping Monica host the big 2nd birthday giveaway for Catholic Bloggers Network! There are new chances to win every day!
Be sure to check back in on the Toothpaste Jesus Miracle Link-Up! The link-up is open through February 17th, so write up your miracles and share them with the world. There are new stories to read over there everyday!
AND I was nominated for a Sheenazing Award at A Knotted Life. I'm honored. Thank you! Voting opens on Thursday . . .
yes, it is.