March of the Mini Beasts (The Data Set #1) by Ada Hopper, illustrated by Sam Ricks

Published by Little Simon 

Summary:  Gabe, Laura, and Cesar call themselves The Data Set because they collect enough data—random information—to stump even their teachers.  One day they’re on a mission to sell enough candy bars in their neighborhood to fund their science club’s field trip.  Knocking on doors, they eventually get to a strange-looking house that turns out to be inhabited by Dr. Bunsen, a kindly mad scientist.  He introduces them to his growth ray machine, which turns out to not only cause their little plastic animals to grow, but also brings them to life.  The animals start out as mini pets that fit into a terrarium, but rapidly begin to grow to full size.  The kids must put their heads together to figure out how to find a safe home for their new pets.  The zoo animals prove to be manageable, but the fast-growing stegosaurus presents a problem to be solved in book #2.  128 pages; grades 1-3.

Pros:  This face-paced humorous adventure is a perfect first chapter book, with a large font and plenty of illustrations on just about every page.

Cons:  The Data Set didn’t seem all that brainy…everyone gasped with amazement when Cesar came up with the idea to take the growing wild animals to the zoo.

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