The only reason I am giving this a five is for two basic problems. My Kindle view for the iPad was badly formatted and very difficult to read, with foot notes being mixed in with the story instead of, well a footnote. Also the story looked like it was in mid-editing, with the edited items left rather than removed or changed. I loved the gadget making sections and plan to try the hot dog maker since we are not allowed in our compound to do honest fire based BBQ, this could be an environmental run around.
Now this was the FIRST book I read in the six volumed series. Normally it is perfectly all right, if it was written to be able to continue a series and as a stand alone. Hey, I read it with Nancy Drew books, and I worked my way back and forth over the series. In this case, it not working for me. You almost have to read all the other books in order. A well-written book can handle the stories being read out of joint. In fact. they would inspire in you the desire to find the rest of the story without feeling like you have no clue as to who these kids really are.
The story had some good strong points though. I loved the science gadget make it help (already said) and I like the quirky personalities the characters had. My major problem is the pacing and how the book feels really less than half finished, almost as if they needed a fat outline to get the book approved, but never got around to actually writing the whole thing.