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The Mad Scientists' Club (Mad Scientist Club) Hardcover – October 3, 2001
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...filled with spirit of adventure and good-natured fun... In fact, Henry Mulligan, chief Mad Scientist, reminds me of me! -- Homer Hickam, Author of October Sky
For better or worse (better, I think) the Mad Scientists' Club was a major influence in my youth. -- Glenn H. Reynolds -- InstaPundit.com, October 11, 2004
Fun and gentle, the books paint a picture of a more innocent boyhood where scientific know-how could save the day. -- USA TODAY, December 3, 2002
When I was a kid, some of my favourite books were about young geniuses. ...I loved Bertrand Brinley's Mad Scientists -- Kenneth Oppel, author of Barnes & the Brains series, Silverwing series
Timeless and entertaining, The Mad Scientists' Club is a fun read and top pick. --Midwest Book Review
About the Author
After attending Stanford University, where he majored in Economics and Speech, BERTRAND R. BRINLEY was a methods and procedures analyst for Lockheed Aircraft's engineering department. He entered the Army in 1944 and served fifteen years in a variety of infantry and public relations assignments, including position of aide-de-camp to the chief of the United Nations delegation during the Korean armistice negotiations. He retired from active duty in order to devote himself to writing, and held a commission as major in the United States Army Reserve. He later worked in technical writing and public relations positions for the Martin Company.
The author of Rocket Manual for Amateurs, Bertrand Brinley lectured extensively to schools and civics groups on space age topics. His articles and stories appeared in Harper's Magazine, Boys' Life, Family Weekly, Woman's Day, The Microwave Journal, Electronics Illustrated and The Book of Knowledge.
Bertrand Brinley is well-known for his beloved tales of the Mad Scientists' Club, whose further antics can be found in The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, The Big Kerplop! and The Big Chunk of Ice.
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Top customer reviews
For stories that were written, what, 50 or so years ago (has it been that long...?), these really do hold up well. The technology that the kids use in their adventures is, sure, a little dated, but then the technology is not the central theme of the stories either. The themes are kids going out, having fun, making mischief and getting out of it, all in a very creative way. These major themes are not anachronisms, or at least I hope they aren't.
As I've long since lost that dog-eared copy my mother bought me so many years ago, I was very happy to see this series come out on Kindle (and I kind of have to wonder what Brinley would think about a future where his book can be transmitted wirelessly to a small portable reading device). In fact, there are two books I had no idea existed, meaning there are more Mad Scientist adventures. I'm very nearly giddy.
The writing itself is probably most appropriate for middle school and up - it's not Ulysses, but the writing is a little more advanced than, say, The Great Brain books. The Mad Scientist's Club is in the first person perspective of Charlie, one of the members of the club, and it's a style that works well for the book. And while some of the adventures are kind of far out, overall everything works in context and it's an enjoyable read. I think older kids will get a lot out of this book.
The individual scientists have distinct personalities. There is still an air of gee-whiz adventure. The snappy electronics (radio receivers, walkie-talkies, etc.) are certainly dated, but the zeal of the scientists is still fun. The sense of adventure, cooperation, imagination, and daring can still be gripping and inspiring.
I think the value of these reader reviews is in whether they help you decide now whether to buy the volume now for a kid who's going to read it now. For this book, I think that may turn in large part on the mechanical and scientific, (or tinkering), proclivities of your reader and his/her interest in things mechanical and electrical. By the same token, it might also appeal to a reader who just likes reading about a gang of kids who get up to stuff. Either way, for the right kid, this is probably worth a try.
(As a boy, I knew exactly where on the library bookshelves to get this book (and the New Adventures), and checked it out again and again. As an adult I spent years trying to remember the title of this book; when I finally found it again I was pleasantly surprised at how well it held up.)