Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor
By Jon Scieszka
Amulet Books, 2014
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Ages 6 to 10
ISBN:  9781419712180
Publication Date:  August 19, 2014

How to capture readers Jon Scieszka style.  First, have a James Bond-worthy introduction with your hero in mortal peril.  Second, rewind and show your hero creating a self-aware robot, Frankenstein style.  Finally, write a book with a real weenie for a villian, a chimp CEO, peanut butter bubble gum, and two wacky robots.  Add a dash of stylized illustrations and done.

Frank is an inventor at heart, something that he has learned from her grandfather Al.  He wants to create a robot that will be able to learn like a human in order to win the town science fair and use the prize money to save his grandfather's business.  The original plan does not work out, but a happy accident causes Klink, a robot with a human-like learning ability, to create himself, and a friend Klank, a robot with the mind of a HUGME monkey doll.  This duo, together with Frank and his best friend Watson create an Antimatter Motor-a motor that creates a crazy amount of energy from just one tiny drop of water and anti water.  But where there's a stellar science fair project, there's a crook, and T. Edison is out to still this wonder, and destroy Frank in the process.

From beginning to end, this was one fun read.  Klink and Klank are two characters that play very well off each other and will have readers laughing out loud.  Frank's determination to create something incredible will also delight readers since he alludes to failed past experiments that sound like any kids dream.  There is real science here too, making this a great choice for all of those schools and library pushing STEM eduction right now.  But Scieszka makes science, even quite complicated stuff, sound simple and fun.  Frank's enthusiasm may just be contagious and readers will look forward to their next science project.  

There is a full dictionary of scientific terms used in the book in the back, and the definitions are both factual and funny.  Klink and Klank also teach readers how to make antimatter, but they get a little sidetracked by a joke, so don't worry, readers will not be asking for a trip to the Large Hadron Collider anytime soon, although they may ask to Google it.

Scieszka has come up with another winning character.  Schools and libraries will have a very hard time keeping this one on the shelves.

Happy Reading!

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