When Dr. Bunsen, Gabe, Laura, and Cesar's mad-scientist neighbor, tries out his growth machine on Gabe's plastic animal toys, there's an unexpected result—they come to life.
Second-grade whiz kids Gabriel Martinez, Laura Reyes, and Cesar Moreno meet their strange neighbor while fundraising for a science-club field trip. Known to their classmates as “the Data Set,” they each have individual passions: Gabe loves animals; Laura loves to tinker and invent; Cesar loves to read and eat. There’s room for all these activities in their well-equipped treehouse. Together, their fantastic adventures will be the stuff of four titles scheduled for 2016 and aimed directly at first- and second-graders already devouring books. This episode introduces the characters, sets up the problem (the cute but rapidly growing baby animals), and finds a solution (sneak them into the zoo) in 126 fast-paced pages written with plenty of dialogue and copiously illustrated with appealing drawings. With these Latino protagonists—Cesar has dark skin and curly hair, while Laura and Gabe have lighter skin and straight hair—and a STEM-infused plot, this would seem to have been made to order for today’s elementary school students. While the emphasis is far more on plot than STEM, the kid-friendly fantasy should captivate readers, who will certainly want to gobble up the next installment. (Tantalizingly, the opening pages are included.)
First of a tasty if not immediately nourishing new series. (Adventure. 5-8)