Jon Scieszka’s new science fiction comedy series is charming, funny and unashamedly geeky. This first episode introduces us to the young inventor and science enthusiast, Frank Einstein who, with the support of a loving grampa and a loyal sidekick called (inevitably) Watson, embarks upon a plan to mimic human brain activity in robots.
Einstein somehow succeeds in sparking life into two robots, Klink and Klank, who develop ‘synthetically plastic brains’ that adapt and learn. Despite Klank’s shortcomings (the memory of a broken watch, the heart of an ancient Casio keyboard, etc) and Klink’s unfortunate habit of slipping into ‘SatNav’ mode when stressed, it is clear that the robots will win Einstein the science prize and enough cash to save his grampa’s workshop. Sadly, all is lost when the evil antagonist, T. Edison emerges: ‘Come on, you mechanical meatheads! Get your tin butts over there! I want to see some antimatter fireworks!’ Assisted by his devilish sidekick, Mr Chimp, Edison is determined to ruin Einstein’s plans and steal the workshop for his own unsavoury purpose. The climactic battle between these two scientific super-brains is described, brilliantly, as a scientific experiment. Einstein applies observation, hypothesis, experiment and analysis in order to rescue himself and his beloved new robots from Edison’s terrifying, giant anti-squirt gun!
Einstein’s passion for exploring the world of science is thoroughly contagious and is mirrored by the general tone of the book. Delightful diagrams are sketched on graph paper and explain, simply and ingeniously, such daunting scientific phenomena as nuclear reactions, insect biology and cow farts!
Scieszka’s previous successes include the universally adored Stinky Cheeseman and other Fairly Stupid Tales and the hilarious The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, told from the wolf’s perspective. In this series, he departs from fairy tales and revels in sparking children’s interest in and appetite for science and invention. Readers will learn about Albert Einstein’s theories, Aristotle’s teachings, Cern’s Large Hadron Collider and the difference between monkeys and apes. These lessons are illustrated with original red and greyscale cartoons by Brian Biggs that are jam-packed with humorous details.
The story taps in terrifically to children’s natural curiosity and inquisition; a nuclear explosion of action, adventure and antimatter particles!