Friday, May 8, 2015

Review: Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself! by Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith

Bright siblings—and amateur inventors—Nick and Tesla Holt are back for another thrill-a-minute adventure. This time a Hollywood movie is being filmed in town, but the real drama happens when the cameras are turned off. Mystery awaits behind the scenes, and the whole production may shut down unless the DIY detectives can crack the case, with the help of their friends Silas and DeMarco and a fresh assortment of homemade gadgets. Featuring instructions for all-new movie magic projects that kids can build themselves, this whiz-bang adventure is sure to delight fans of the series. Science and electronics have never been so much fun!
I wasn't too sure about the illustration on the cover of the book, but the premise sounded intriguing so I decided to request this anyway.

In Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself!, Nick and Tesla, as well as their friends DeMarco and Silas, are invited by DeMarco's aunt to spend the day at a movie set. However, someone is trying to sabotage the production. It's up to the siblings and their friends to find out what exactly is going on.

It's too bad there weren't any books like this when I was growing up. The book was able to combine a mystery story with an instruction manual of sorts. The overall effect was something like Phineas and Ferb meets The Bobbsey Twins. This makes it perfect for budding inventors and kids who like to build stuff and do experiments. I wasn't able to try any of them to check if they really do work, though, since they required a couple or so materials that I didn't have at home. They all can be easily procured at regular stores, however, so kids and parents shouldn't have a hard time getting everything they need.

The book is also chockful of movie production-related information, which makes it a fascinating read for kids who are curious about the industry or want to work in it someday.

As for the novel itself, I kinda liked it. Nick and Tesla were fun to read about, and while I thought Silas was irritating sometimes, the group's dynamic was quite good. The mystery itself was interesting, particularly because you really only had bits and pieces at the start, and you learn important information at the same time as the kids, so there's the feeling that you're part of the group.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the e-ARC.


  1. The kids' inventions can be recreated using the instructions provided.
  2. You'll learn a lot about the movie industry.
  3. It's an entertaining read.


  1. The influx of information can sometimes feel forced. 


  1. You or your child like building things.
  2. Your child loves Phineas and Ferb.
  3. Your child likes mysteries. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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