Friday, December 1, 2017

Ada Lace on the case; Ada Lace sees read by Emily Calandrelli, illustrated by Renee Kurilla

Ada Lace is bored. Her family has moved across the country, from West Virginia to San Francisco. It wouldn't be so bad if she could explore outside, but she's got a broken leg! With nothing to do, she teams up with the quirky girl down the street, Nina, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a local dog. Ada has plenty of opportunity to watch out her window, plus her tech skills help her set up surveillance. But when things start getting confusing, she may have started something bigger than she can handle alone!

In her second adventure, Ada is now close friends with Nina, even though they're very different. She's started at her new school and is spending every spare minute on her robot, George, with the help of the friendly tinkerer across the way, Mr. Peebles. But Ada has more on her mind than getting George ready for a competition and the annoying behavior of the mean boy next door. Her dad is now the art teacher at school and Ada just can't seem to get her art assignments right. She gets more and more frustrated, especially as Nina seems to get much more praise and interest from her dad.

Ada is an enthusiastic tech and science fan, but also a realistic one. She doesn't necessarily figure things out right away, needs help from grown-ups, and can get frustrated and neglect her other work and friends. The flipped stereotypes - Nina is Asian but not into math or science, Ada's parents are both artists and don't understand her love of technology - are a nice touch. Various scientific principles are referenced in the text and expanded in the "Behind the science" sections in the back which explain drones, the Turing test, Arduino boards, and more. The plots and characters are a little uneven in places, and there's definitely some wish-fulfillment involved, but overall they're fun, interesting stories with a touch of mystery that will attract kids who are into science as well as those who aren't. Ada turning out to be color blind was a unique touch and who doesn't enjoy seeing the mean boy next door get his comeuppance?

Verdict: These are much better than I expected from a celebrity-driven book and I think I will find an easy audience for them in my library since we have clubs of robotics, coding, and more which the girls are heavily involved in. The mystery and friendship drama was a good touch that will draw in kids who aren't interested in the scientific aspects.

Ada Lace on the case
ISBN: 9781481485999

Ada Lace sees red
ISBN: 9781481486026

Published 2017 by Simon and Schuster; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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