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Thursday, June 23
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor
(Frank Einstein #1)
Written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs
My rating: ★★★½
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Date of publication: August 19, 2014
Age: Grades 3 - 5
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: library book
Themes: robots, inventions, scientific method, humor, friendship
Kid-genius and inventor Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. This time, an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm, and a flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his antimatter motor invention...until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan!
There is so much to appreciate about this book—educational and humorous, first and foremost. Klink and Klank are perfect comic relief to Frank's thoroughly scientific observations and plans. The book examines six different aspects of scientific study (starting, of course, with matter), discusses experimentation, breaks down the scientific method, and still makes time for cow-fart jokes, Captain Underpants, and a lovable HugMeMonkey. (Not necessarily my brand of humor, but I know lots of kids will love it).
But beyond humor and science, the actual aspects of the book are still great, too. The illustrations have just enough cartoon-ish aspect to keep things light and fun, while still including the occasional plan breakdown and scientific figure. The characters are pretty great—I love the relationship Frank has with this grandpa, and with his best friend Watson. However, some complaints... T. Edison. He just seems to be the token bad guy for no particular reason; hopefully the later books will delve deeper into his character. Also, I wish Frank's parents weren't portrayed as foolish or ignorant.
In the end, this is a great chapter book to get kids confident about reading, excited about science, and laughing to themselves. Recommended for sure.
Find it at your library or on Amazon