Though not to be taken at all seriously, this wacky series by Jon Schieszka threads some real science into its far-out storylines.
Frank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor (Frank Einstein #1) by Jon Schieszka. Amulet, 2015, 180 pages.
Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10
Recommended for: ages 8-12, especially boys
While his parents are traveling in the Antarctic, Frank is staying with his grandpa, who doesn’t care what kind of mess he makes in the lab. But both are taken by surprise when two robots assemble themselves and offer their services. They catch the ear of Frank’s arch-rival T. Edison, and mayhem ensues . . .
The self-assembling robots are a suspension of belief too far—kind of like a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 727. Otherwise, there’s some real science put in service of this slight story. Laughs are broad, but not gross, which is a welcome development in the field of boy’s literature (which often leans too heavily on potty jokes). Reluctant readers with a science bent will eat these up. So far there are four volumes in the series, and you can practice your foreign language skills with Spanish and Portugese editions!
Cautions: None, except silliness (but note: I’ve only read the first in the series)
Overall rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 3
- Artistic value: 3.5