An imaginative sci-fi tale with the potential to teach real science.
Suspicious of their scientist parents’ decision to move across the country to join a secretive new company, Ryan and Regan Resnik break in to the heavily guarded complex to check it out. After getting caught, they find their parents inside an alien city hidden deep underground. When their mother is nearly killed by a falling generator, they inadvertently travel back in time as they try to rescue her. Alone again, they search the city, finding a strange zoo and a school, where they learn the secrets of the city. The author’s fluid writing keeps the story moving, and the inventive storyline will maintain reader interest. But the quality that sets this book apart is its focus on teaching the scientific method and introducing to young readers some fascinating and advanced concepts of physics and biology. Ryan and Regan reason their way through what at first seems to be a magical world, but turns out to have rational explanations for its fantastic elements. Richards deftly explains how immune systems work; how the children experiment to make sure that the water they find is safe to drink; and the difficult concepts of time travel. Reminiscent of William Sleator’s work, The Prometheus Project has the potential to introduce children to science and rational thinking through a fun and suspenseful story.
Highly recommended. (Fiction. 8-12)