Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs

Frank Einstein is a scientist and an inventor.  He's also a kid.  Frank is determined to win this year's Midville Science Prize.  With the winnings, he'll be able to save his grandfather's Fix It! repair shop.  With Frank's invention of two SmartBots, Klink and Klank, he tackles his biggest project of all: an antimatter motor.  But Frank, his friend Watson, and the two robots realizes they have bigger problems to worry about than the science fair: Frank's rival kid-scientist Edison has some evil ideas of his own.

I love the idea of these books.  A series that teaches scientific concepts!  So cool!  This first book looked at the concept of matter, the next book will look at energy, and so on it will go through six planned books.  Really great idea.  And I totally learned things.  For example, on the second page, I learned the correct way to calculate distance between seeing lightening and hearing thunder.  I always thought the number of seconds between them was the number of miles a way the storm was.  Wrong! You have to divide it by five, because there's five seconds between light and sound for every mile.  I've been doing it wrong my whole life.

As for the story itself, I wasn't blown away.  It was a fine lower-middle grade read.  It wasn't quite what I expect from Jon Scieszka, which is really sharp and funny.  I mean, it's quite the undertaking, explaining the entire concept of matter while also making a fun story!  Future books will probably be smoother.  I thought it was perhaps a little clunky, melding the adventure story with the science concepts.  

I liked that along with the story there are diagrams of the scientific concepts.  You can ignore them if you want, but they definitely helped a visual person like me better understand the concepts Frank was using in his inventions.  And aside from the diagrams there were very cute illustrations by Brain Biggs.

I look forward to seeing where the rest of the series goes.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor comes out August 19, 2014.

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