Gadget-happy twins Nick and Tesla return to build some robots and solve a series of burglaries.
Sent off to stay with their eccentric uncle Newt in Half Moon Bay, Calif., while their parents do something mysterious and governmental in Uzbekistan, the 11-year-olds have begun to worry. Two weeks have passed without any messages. Now, their already distressingly absent-minded uncle has fallen hard for Hiroko Sakurai, the new owner of the Wonder Hut, the local tinkerer’s heaven. But is she behind the burglaries? Like Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab (2013), this sequel features some wild action interspersed with clear instructions for projects that make liberal use of small motors, plastic bottles and tubing, electric wires and a hot-glue gun. The appearance of a series of robots around town inspires Nick, Tesla and their friends to build some of their own, including two jiggling walkers, a flyer and a “robo-bug,” as well as a “super-soaker bot blaster.” For the most part, these projects are well within the capabilities of middle-grade readers, though the soaker may turn out to be agonizingly fiddly. Less-handy readers will enjoy the humor, the detective work and the threat to the twins revealed in the final pages. A third volume in this series is promised for May.
Another fast-paced mystery and treat for technophiles. (Fiction. 9-13)