Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Jinson Twins Science Detectives and the Mistery of Echo Lake by Steven L. Zeichner

Book Summary (from the back of the book)

The Jinson twins, Joe and Debbie decide to start a business during their summer vacation, hiring themselves out to do odd jobs. They find themselves in an odder job than they counted on when Mrs. Gray, who lives with her talkative parrot, the Captain, in an old house down off River Road, engages them to help clean out her basement.

Aided by their friend, Mr Benjamin, the proprietor of the Resource Recovery and Recycling Center (a.k.a the junkyard), the twins use the clues that Mrs Gray’s late husband, a former sea captain, left behind to figure out, using scientific principles, where the captain hid his enormous collection of antique Spanish gold coins.

But some other people know about the treasure too and have no intention of letting an old lady who spends most of her time with a parrot, an old man who runs a junkyard and a couple of kids get the treasure.

My Review

I got this book through the Member Giveaway program at, but with the moving and what not I forgot I had it!. I saw the description of the book, and it got me at “sciences detectives”

The story is told in the voice of Debbie. One thing I have to mention is that a couple of time this changed for a paragraph, to being told by a third person, and then back to first person (Debbie) without any apparent reason. I guess this just slipped from the editors. Other than that I have to give it to Zeicher, I felt like listening to my 12 year old cousin, and I imagine the fact the he is trained in pediatrics and has 2 daughters gave him the practice to know how a 12 year old girl would express herself. 

This twins, besides being smart, are not out of the ordinary twins, no special language, no reading of each other thoughts, which I actually liked a lot, because all they do during the mystery is trough thinking, and I love a book that promotes this. After a “long” time where it looks like no-one is going to hire them, they get a call from Mrs Gray an elder lady who needs their help. Along they find the treasure of a map, that her husband promised to her. Here is where Mr. Benjamin, an engineer, comes to help them. Now, why wasn’t him in a more “science” field instead of engineering, I don’t know. With the author’s background in microbiology I was expecting another career for the person pushing the scientific method, but that’s just me. 

The book actually makes reference to a real research article (including the URL at NCBI, I’m geeking out here, sorry) and I loved that. Extra points for the last part of the book where you can do an experiment to evaluate the speed of sound. 

I think this is the type of book I would love to read to my future daughter and hope that she also falls in love with science, or at least understands where my love is coming from.

As a bonus, you can check this interview with the author on Wired magazine. 

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