March of the Mini Beasts (Data Set #1)

by Ada Hopper (Author) Sam Ricks (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Data Set

Danger! Action! Trouble! Adventure! Introducing The DATA Set, a brand-new chapter book series for young readers. What would happen if your next-door neighbor were a mad scientist?

Gabe, Laura, and Cesar live on a quiet cul-de-sac. They are the whiz kids of Newtonburg Elementary and each specializes in their own subject. In fact, everyone in town lovingly refers to them as the Data Set. However, their quiet days of learning take a sudden turn for the exciting when they meet Dr. Gustav Bunsen--a mad scientist who throws the kids into a wild spiral of adventures. When Dr. Bunsen's latest invention, a growth ray, hits several tiny animal toys, the mini beasts don't just grow, they come to life! The DATA Set love their new tiny pets...until they continue to grow. Now there's an actual elephant in the room--not to mention a chimp, a giraffe, and a dinosaur. When the beasts wander off, it's up to the DATA Set to track them down. But will they catch the mini beasts before they grow big enough to start trouble in town?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The DATA Set chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!

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Kirkus Reviews

While the emphasis is far more on plot than STEM, the kid-friendly fantasy should captivate readers, who will certainly want to gobble up the next installment.


The young scientists bring complementary skills to the table (for instance, engineer Laura has a tree-house lab with an elevator), and Hopper incorporates multiculturalism with a sprinkle of Spanish words and a reference to Gabe’s mom’s Colombian accent. Engaging STEM-ware for fans of Einstein Anderson, Phineas L. McGuire, and the Summer Camp Science series.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--Gabe, Laura, and Cesar are their town's resident whiz kids, affectionately known by their peers as the Data Set. All three love science, and each of them brings a different specialized skill to their group. Gabe, the leader, loves animals and dinosaurs; Laura is the engineer; and Cesar is the historian with a photographic memory. These skills come in handy when they stumble into an accidental adventure incited by their mad scientist neighbor, Dr. Gustav Bunsen. Dr. Bunsen tests out his newest invention, a growth ray, on Gabe's animal toys. The device works too well, and in addition to causing the toys to grow, it brings them to life! The Data Set, together with Dr. Bunsen, must use their collective knowledge and skills to find a solution to this problem. This is the first in a series of introductory chapter books for emerging readers. The humorous narrative voice is the highlight of this book, which features a large typeface and black-and-white illustrations throughout. The solution to the central problem is unsatisfying, but this may not be of consequence to the target audience, who will enjoy the journey nonetheless. VERDICT Employing quirky humor and capable protagonists, this chapter book will be of interest to young fans of science fiction and adventure.--Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Ada Hopper
Ada Hopper has been extremely inventive ever since she was little. There was nothing that a rubber band and some tweezers couldn't fix, no question that couldn't be answered by scouring the library, and no way she wasn't escaping over that back yard fence! Ada loves reading and writing because of all the fantastical worlds a good book can bring you to. When not working, Ada enjoys karaoke, spending time with her family, and going on the occasional adventure or two.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little Simon
Publication date
April 05, 2016
Data Set
BISAC categories
JUV053000 - Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
Library of Congress categories
Adventure and adventurers
Science fiction
Action and adventure fiction

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