The Mesmer Menace by Kersten Hamilton

Tweens Read Thursdays

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to the Amazing Automated Inn, home of twelve-year-old inventor Wally Kennewickett, his genius scientist parents, and his dashing dog, Noodles. From the lightning harvester on the roof to the labs full of experiments in the dungeon, the inn is a wonderful place for a curious boy and his loyal dog to live. That is, until President Theodore Roosevelt himself calls the elder Kennewicketts away, leaving Wally and Noodles to face the evil Mesmers, horrible hypnotists bent on controlling the minds of powerful people. It seems the inn is their first stop on the way to world domination . . . and only an ingenious boy, a staff of automatons, and a brave dachshund stand in their way!


Noodles is undoubtedly an extraordinary dachshund who endeavors to always keep his master, Wally, safe from the many dangers that befall a scatter-brained genius. Moreover, Noodles has an especial distaste for pigeons, despite the fact that a portrait of one of the foul birds hangs over the mantlepiece. There is something about them that does not seem completely right. Besides, anything that garners so much attention from Wally's nasty cousins Melvin and Prissy must be abominable in some form or fashion. Generally, Noodles does an excellent job keeping the peace; however, he may have to face more than he bargained for in order to ensure a happy ending for everyone.  

The Mesmer Menace is a light mystery story with a steampunk flavor. Noodles the Narrator uses a plethora of interesting vocabulary words and explains the meaning of each word as he tells the story. As a word lover and indirect educator, I quite enjoyed this aspect of the book; however, I felt that it was repeated a few too many times. At a certain point, the definitions stopped feeling like having fun and learning at the same time and, instead, just felt didactic. This tale was extremely fluffy and could have had better character depth and plot progression. Some of this is owing to the level of the material. (However, level of material never hindered Kate DiCamillo's genius). Nonetheless, The Mesmer Menaces is a delightfully quirky beginning to a series that is sure to amuse. This tasty tome will likely tempt the literary appetite of the youngest readers on the tween age spectrum.

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