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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun mystery coupled with DIY projects
This is the third book in the Nick and Tesla series. If you enjoyed the previous books I think you will enjoy this one as well. It was an excellent addition to the Nick and Tesla series. They are fewer gadgets to build in this book than in previous ones, but I thought the story was better here.

The last book in this series ended with a message from Nick and...
Published 9 months ago by K. Eckert

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Promotes false and damaging stereotypes
Uncle Newt, an eccentric scientist? Give me a break! Yet another kids' book pandering to the dumb stereotype that scientists are eccentric or nerdy. This actually keeps kids, who want to be "cool," away from developing an interest in scientific fields, to the detriment of themselves and the society as whole. Why doesn't anyone write children's books about eccentric...
Published 9 months ago by NYshopper


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun mystery coupled with DIY projects, May 9, 2014
This is the third book in the Nick and Tesla series. If you enjoyed the previous books I think you will enjoy this one as well. It was an excellent addition to the Nick and Tesla series. They are fewer gadgets to build in this book than in previous ones, but I thought the story was better here.

The last book in this series ended with a message from Nick and Tesla’s mom, she basically told them they are being spied on. Now Nick is seeing spies everywhere. He thinks the new apprentice that shows up at his Uncle’s house is a spy, he thinks that the cleaning ladies are spies… When Tesla’s special necklace disappears, her and Nick, along with their friends come up with a plan to find out who the spy is once and for all.

The book is humorous and funny, but deals with some serious things too. We learn a bit more about what is going on with Nick and Tesla's parents and why they got that cryptic message from their mother in the 2nd book.

The plot twists and turns as our characters follow one lead only to be derailed and led down a different path. There isn’t really any character development here. Nick and Tesla have interacted in much the same way throughout all of these books so far. These books are all about the mystery and the neat gadgets.

The book is well written and easy to read and their are some excellent pictures throughout. It seemed like there were fewer gadgets to build than in the previous books. However, I did appreciate that the gadgets seemed to cover a broader breadth of difficulty. The spy cams were a bit more difficult to build and required some special materials, while the code wheel is something pretty much anyone could build. Most of the activities will still require parental involvement.

I have yet to try building any of the devices and gadgets in these books. My son and I were going to try and build one of the robots from the last book, but just got derailed by other activities we have going on.

Overall another solid addition to this series. These book are fun reads that are mostly mysteries, with some science and gadget building thrown in. There are some decent pictures throughout. I would definitely recommend to middle grade readers who like a good mystery and enjoy some humor in there too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Third book in youth mystery / DIY series, April 8, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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This is the third book in the Nick and Tesla series, which combines a youth mystery with DIY projects . I find that the books work well and that the stories can stand on their own merits. Wisely, the books pair an experienced children's literature author with a high school science teacher.

I did not find this third volume to be as strong as the first (Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab). By the third volume, the novelty of Nick and Tesla's living arrangement has worn off and I was hoping for a major plot development. Instead, the authors have opted for a more formulaic approach. Secret Agent Gadget Battle revolves around the search for a spy who has infiltrated the house. The volume's strongest suit are a number of new and amusing characters, all of whom Nick and Tesla suspect as spies. In the end, after having identified and caught the miscreants, Nick and Tesla aren't much further along than when they began.

The projects interspersed in this latest book include fingerprint powder, an alarm, a hidden camera, code wheels, and a hydraulic balloon drop. The story and projects work best, in my opinion, for kids in the 8 to 10 year old range. Parents will likely want or need to get involved in the projects if for no other reason than helping procure some of the materials. I found the fingerprint powder to be the most interesting and appropriately utilized in the story. The code wheels are great, but their placement in the story feels contrived. Incidentally, a great introduction to cryptography for kids (and their parents) is Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing.

Cheers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun story about an 11-year old brother and sister who encounter a spy and engineer various widgets to reveal the spy's identity., April 28, 2014
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This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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Nick and Tesla are an intrepid pair of siblings who are spending some time with their Uncle Newt during their summer vacation. The plan was for them to have a nice, normal summer with the usual activities but it is turning out to be a weird summer.

The kids encounter a spy who is trying to find secrets in the home of their uncle. Their uncle is an inventor and the spy is up to no good. Nick and Tesla take it upon themselves to unmask the evil doer.

In their efforts to find the spy, the pair build several devices to assist them in their endeavor. They design and build a "Fingerprint-Finder Powder and Evildoer Identification System" as well as a "Ring-A-Ding-Ding Spy Exposure System." But the kids were not through in their equipment building efforts. They also build a "Spy-Busting Invisi-Cam" and some "EGBQO OAAX Code Wheels." They finished up with a "Booby Trap Balloon Drop." With this equipment, they were well on their way to discovering and stopping the spy.

The story is a lively recounting of Nick's and Tesla's activities and it held the interest of my granddaughter who is both a mystery buff and a builder. It was right up her alley.

This is the third book of a series written by a teacher who goes by the name of "Scientist Bob" and his co-author, Steve. They have created a nice series of books that hold the interest of kids with both a mystery and directions on how to build some fun items. The building of the devices needs to be supervised by the parents, however, as some of the them involve some potentially dangerous elements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spy Hunting, April 14, 2014
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Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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This book picks up not too long after the previous book in the series. Nick and Tesla have just gotten a message from their mother leaving them with the warning that someone is spying on them. While Nick is suspicious of everyone they have met while staying with their uncle, Tesla is more willing to take a wait and see approach.

All that changes when one of the pendants their parents gave them is stole while the house is filled with strangers. Is the spy among the group? Can Nick and Tesla create some new gadgets to catch the spy in the act?

Once again, Science Bob and Steve have created a wonderful story that will satisfy their target middle grade audience. The story takes a chapter or two to get going, but then it takes off and never slows down. I kept second guessing myself as to who the killer was as I read. The characters could be a tad better developed, but I didn't care about that when I was a kid, and I doubt today's kids will care either. There are some very funny scenes and lines along the way as well.

Like the previous entries, there are also some fun gadgets to build along the way like a code wheel, finger print powder, and a spy camera. Some require more work than others, but these are a great way to keep kids occupied during summer vacation (with a little help from mom and dad).

The series is fun overall, and this is another great entry in the series. I can't wait to see what Nick and Tesla are up to next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some not-so-easy-to-find parts required, June 23, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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First, I really do like this series. This is the third I've read, and though you could start here, you might as well start with number 1. They are funny, smart, and easy to read. While the eccentric scientist uncle may be an offensive stereotype to some, the fact that Nick and Tesla are so very cool more than makes up for it. I don't know how any kid could make it through the projects and activities of this book and NOT think science is really neat.

My one objection is that some of the projects require very specialized equipment. This is not stuff you're likely to have just lying around. A bicycle bell? A 1.5-3 volt motor? How about a length of fish aquarium tubing? I'm not saying it's impossible to find these things, but you can't just hand this book to a child and expect that at the end of it she will have not only read it but completed all kinds of neat projects as well. You are going to have to do some scavenging and shopping for supplies, and probably need to be around to help with several the projects as well. Most children who are capable of doing all these projects alone would not be interested in the story, and vice versa: kids who are the target audience for the story are going to be too young to do all this projects alone.

Still, if you're willing to support your child through this book, it's just a really neat series sure to engage young engineers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery for Young Scientists, May 10, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
Nick and Tesla are back at it again in this third story. They know that someone is spying on them and they have loads and loads of suspects. Is it their neighbor Julie Casserly? She is always fussing around her yard and some of Uncle Newt's inventions have done damage. Her garden gnome will never be the same. Or is it Mr. Jones who is Uncle Newt's neighbor on the other side. Nick is suspicious of everyone they know in town from the lone police officer to the man who delivers the mail.

Their suspicions are really roused when they come home one day to find that Uncle Newt has hired an exterminator who seems suspiciously afraid of bugs and two cleaning ladies too. Then the apprentice Uncle Newt didn't remember hiring arrives. Oli says he is from Australia but he had a strong Russian accent and doesn't seem to know very much about science.

Nick and Tesla take the opportunity to contrive a number of devices the let them spy on the suspicious people including a fingerprint finder, a "ring-a-ding-ding spy exposure system", and a hidden camera. They also make a code ring using styrofoam cups so that they can write in code to each other. There are plans in the book so that young spies and inventors can make the gadgets too.

The story is fast-paced and filled with funny incidents. Middle grade mystery readers will enjoy this story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Experiments and adventure make for a fun read, May 5, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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The Nick and Tesla series are great for the young scientist/inventor in your home with experiments and projects sprinkled throughout the text. The third volume in the series is a fairly predictable adventure although well written. I like that the author did not simplify the writing and there are plenty of 'big words' in the story. On page two you have the words 'ingenious', 'inspired',' innovative', 'demolished' and 'putrid'. This may bump the recommended level up to middle school but I have always found that reading slightly above grade level is often the best way for my kids to improve their vocabulary. My third grader had no problem reading this book with the occasional help with a difficult word.

The experiments in the book are fun CSI/Spy style projects including fingerprint detector, invisible camera, booby trap balloon drop, etc. While some of the projects are easily done with cheap materials you can find around the house, the invisible cam does require a disposable camera and the most challenging project is probably the spy exposure system that requires a 1.5-3 volt motor and a hot glue gun.

This is a great series for the young reader who might be into building, creating or inventing gadgets. The book is very encouraging to children who like to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science and spying, so much fun!, June 30, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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Just as the first two in this series, I absolutely loved the book!

Summary:
There seems to be a spy within the household and Nick and Tesla are determined to figure out who it is. They develop a few contraptions to help with their detective work. Who might this spy be?

My thoughts:
As always, the greatest part of these books are the ways in which the science is easily mixed in with the storytelling. Of course they are going to come up with fingerprint powder as they are trying to discover who the mysterious spy is! Then, the directions on how to make each gadget or experiment is included. So, of course, I'm going to make my own batch to play with at home. Not only is the story good enough to keep the attention of a reluctant reader, it also is interactive between parents and child. This one has some experiments that are easily done alone, but also ones that definitely need adult help. There also may be a trip to the store that needs to happen before some of the gadgets are complete. I know that I don't have all of the items readily handy at home. I look forward to continue reading the Nick and Tesla series and adding them into my classroom library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is It Oli?, May 11, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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Not your ordinary 11-year-olds, Nick and Tesla are twins left in the custody of their scientific, experimenting, quirky Uncle Newt while their parents are off supposedly planting soybeans. Then one night the parents call Nick and Tesla with some shocking news: there’s a spy in the neighborhood that the children are to be on the lookout for. Before the twins can learn anything else, the connection is severed.

Right away the story gets interesting. Several mysterious “spy-type” people show up at Uncle Newt’s house. There are some old maids (really, they’re old and they’re cleaning ladies), an exterminator, and a lab apprentice in a trenchcoat. Who’s the spy? It might even be the lady next door.

All’s well that ends well, and although the twins learn that their parents aren’t really farming soybeans, Nick and Tesla have an adventure-filled few days developing gadgets (including one to gather fingerprints) and using their brain power to catch a thief…and a spy.

It’s a great children’s book with believable characters, amusing dialogue, and a good plot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Engaging-Easy for Kids to Love, May 30, 2014
This review is from: Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Hardcover)
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My teen son read "Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle" last night all the way through-from beginning to end. He absolutely loves this book!

He also read the first book about these children of scientists, Nick and Tesla. Although he missed Robot Army Rampage (Book 2), he claims that this title is a great starting point even if you've never read a Nick and Tesla book. Without a doubt, the book is even better than the first. This time, the story is structured like a mystery and is steeped in Nick's amusing paranoia. There are plenty of strange and fascinating characters...

Favorite parts include how to make a "fingerprint-finder powder and evildoer identification system." Just like the first entry, Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle contains a number of interesting contraptions to build using household objects.

This book is humorous and very well written. We appreciate that the authors don't talk down to children. They use a higher vocabulary and project a belief that being intelligent is actually cool.
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Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle
Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Steve Hockensmith (Hardcover - May 6, 2014)
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