The Impossible Shrinking Machine and Other Cases by Seymour Simon

The Impossible Shrinking Machine and Other Cases

Einstein Anderson: Science Geek (series)
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A spunky young scientist with an affinity for corny jokes, experiments and the natural world investigates summer vacation and all the mysteries it brings.

Adam Anderson, a middle schooler, is a scientific sleuth whose love for and skill in the subject have earned him the nickname Einstein. The name fits so well that even his veterinarian father, Matt, and journalist mother, Emily, use it—and in Simon’s (Our Solar System, 2014, etc.) engaging book, it’s easy to see why. Einstein educates readers and his little brother, Dennis, about the science behind everyday occurrences. When Dennis laments the sounds his chair produces as he pushes it back, his brother corrects him: “The chair’s not noisy….The sound is from the friction of the chair legs against the floor,” he says, and he then explains the concept of friction, which leads readers into the first mystery facing Einstein and his best friend and partner in science, Paloma Fuentes. Scheming classmate Stanley, who fancies himself the next wunderkind inventor, creates frictionless Rollerblades to “go farther and faster than anyone ever has.” Einstein and Paloma investigate and quickly repudiate this claim, saving others from wasting money on the noninvention. Other mysteries and riddles include a machine that shrinks objects to miniscule dimensions, a classmate’s howling dog whose affliction suspiciously appears when Stanley is nearby; a store that sells a bat’s egg, and a universal solvent. Clues and cases fill Einstein’s summer and capture the reader’s interest. Simon presents Einstein’s adventures and explorations in an accessible format: Each tale is a self-contained chapter that includes a scientific mystery, questions about its resolution, the subsequent explanation and a related experiment for readers to complete at home. The author thoughtfully formats questions and solutions on separate pages to allow space for readers to hypothesize before confirming the answer. The science is challenging, but Simon’s explanations keep the topics light and fun yet educational. Illustrator O’Malley’s scattered black-and-white sketches work in concert with Simon’s robust descriptions to help visualize the action. Hopefully, this little Einstein isn’t done yet.

A young scientist lives up to his nickname in this clever, accessible book.

Pub Date: March 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1936503056
Page count: 102pp
Publisher: StarWalk Kids Media
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2014


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