Fiendish mastercriminal Max Chaos has mad off with a flask containing an amazing antifriction liquid. As he starts to wreak havoc with this dreaded ‘Flask of Doom’ the Mad Scientists and their intrepid leader, Dr. Genius, are lead into a sinister world of kidnapping, secret messages and missing formulae. Can they piece together the clues and outwit the evil schemer before it’s too late?
This book takes me back to those days when their used to be loads of this type of book in the local library. Stories that encouraged the reader to be involved in the fun rather than reading about somebody else solving the puzzles. Veteran as I am with books these days, I’m ashamed to say that this type of books had completely slipped out of my mind box.
Until recently, when this blast from the past found me in a second-hand bookshop where the small sum of just 75p allowed me to ‘get involved’ once again with the added bonus that being an adult I should, hopefully be equal to the challenges which I singularly failed to do as a child. As the conundrums involved thinking and with the answers being tucked into the back, I used to take that as encouragement to cheat which I feel helped later in life with various crosswords.
The gist of the book is that each double page follows our intrepid scientists as they push along the story and sneakily throw in some real learning but in a fun way. It’s a cheery puzzler this, in which science, maths, word and observational skills are all tested in a gentle way whilst accenting the colourful and comical so it doesn’t seem like real work.
I had a lot of fun taking part, not just because of the nostalgia of the experience but also the light-hearted way that it approaches its subject matter. I try to learn something from every book I read, no matter how outlandish, from this one I learnt that my observational skills are not all they could be or that I think they are. I found that a bit disconcerting but if I had looked rather than glanced some of the puzzles would have been easier.
It’s outlandish, slapstick and short and encourages memory as well as an enquiring mind…this is the sort of book that can be shared with the kids and give us adults a bit of a brain workout, it’s a little like those great Professor Layton games for the Nintendo DS.
Usborne did many books such as this and I am now going to be eagerly searching around for such exciting sounding books as: Time Train to Ancient Rome, Mutiny at Crossbones Bay and Escape From Blood Castle because deep down I am still about 8 and loving it.