While on vacation, I found a brand new series for transitional readers but I was a hesitant to pick it up because I found the front cover a bit dark and spooky. The blurb did peak my interest and I remembered I need more books with guy characters, plus it fit my discover a new book while on vacation goal so I picked up, The Data Set - March of the Mini Beasts by Ada Hopper. I have to be honest, I couldn't put it down when I read it this weekend.
Gabriel, Laura, and Cesar are friends who love to gather random facts/information/data and share their knowledge with others. The story begins with these friends trying to raise money for a school science field trip by selling chocolate bars door to door. They have two boxes to go and an old run down mansion, the only house left to sell to. Their interactions with the owner of this house, Mad Dr. Bunsen are entertaining. The friends are so excited to discover all of his science experiment gear and then he shares his growth ray machine. He wants to try it on the children but they convince him to try it on Gabe's lucky plastic Stego toy. As you might predict the growth ray didn't work and the children go home.
A few days later Dr. Bunsen finds the children in Gabe's backyard in the treehouse Laura designed. Dr. Bunsen is super excited to share he got the growth ray machine to work and they try it on more plastic animals. It appears once again it isn't working. However, with some time they discover the animals may not be growing but they have come to life. This is a problem and the solution that follows is entertaining. I have to warn you, it's not a happy ending and takes the reader immediately to wanting to read the second book in the series which I ordered last night.
I think this book is the right mix of every day life with a twist of fantasy for transitional readers to enjoy and want to read more of. The print is a bit larger on each page with black and white illustrations to help support comprehension. There is more white space which I always enjoy as a reader and think it supports the readers in my classroom. However, the characters are a fun loving group. They create, they collect things and knowing facts is super important. A teacher's dream.