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Ada Lace, on the Case

Illustrated by Renée Kurilla / With Tamson Weston


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About The Book

From Emily Calandrelli—host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the first novel in a brand-new chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.

Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped!

With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.


Ada Lace, on the Case
Chapter One

Ada was sick of sitting. She was sick of the cast on her leg. She was sick of watching the world go by without her. She should be outside, exploring the neighborhood and researching the local wildlife, but she was stuck inside. And it was her own fault.

Their first week in San Francisco, Ada had attempted a bungee jump from a eucalyptus tree in the park. It was a jump she could have made with no bungee. The bungee was capable of stretching 50 percent of its length with her attached to it, but the branch was barely high enough to make the line taut. It was a careless mistake.

While Ada was brooding, her mom came in.

“Do you think you might come have breakfast with me before I go?” her mother asked.

“I guess so. I was hoping we could skip the good-bye part,” said Ada.

“I’ll only be gone for a few days,” said Ada’s mom. “These artists need a little bit of handholding. They aren’t as tough as you are. I’ll be back in time for your first day at school.”

Ada attempted a smile and, on her crutches, followed her mom down the stairs only to be nearly flattened by her brother, Elliott, outside the kitchen. He was wearing an eyepatch and a vest. A stuffed parrot hung lamely from his shoulder. Ada had been reading Treasure Island with Elliott. Now Elliott was determined to find buried treasure. Until then he was dressing the part.

“Easy there, mate,” said Ada’s mom. “You almost capsized your sister.”

“Yarr!” said Elliott. “That’s ‘Captain’ to you. Get that straight, lady, or you’ll walk the plank!”

“Tone it down, Elliott, or you’ll spend the weekend in your room,” said Ms. Lace.

“Sorry, me lady,” said Elliott.

“Do I have to make you swab the poop deck, Elliott?” asked Mr. Lace. He placed a plate of French toast in front of Ada. It had crossed eyes.

“Thanks, Pop,” said Ada. It was hard to stay grumpy around her dad.

“This blasted parrot won’t sit!” said Elliott.

“You need to secure his tail feathers.” Ada wrapped the string around the parrot’s tail and feet then tied it. “That requires a square knot. What you had was a granny.”

“Arrgh! There ye be, Ruffles. Good bird,” said Elliott.

“Ada, do you remember that lady we met at the farmer’s market? Glenda?” asked Ada’s mom. “Her daughter’s about your age. They live over on Polymer Street. You should get together with her.”

“And do what, jump rope?” said Ada, looking down at her cast.

“Very funny,” said Ada’s mom. “How about you have her over?”

Ada shrugged. She wasn’t in the mood to entertain.

“It would give you a head start on being the new kid,” said Ada’s mom. She stood, stuffing one last piece of bacon in her mouth. “Just think about it. I’ll leave the phone number.”

“Kay,” said Ada. Her mom gave her a kiss on the cheek. Ms. Lace hugged her husband and her son and collected her bags.

“Bon voyage!” yelled Elliott. “Bring me back some gold!”

Ada’s mom squatted beside Ada’s chair. “Cheer up, sweet pea. You’ll be the queen of Juniper Garden before you know it.”

About The Author

Photograph (c) 2022 by Morgan Demeter

Emily Calandrelli is an MIT engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s the host and coexecutive producer of Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix, featured as a correspondent on Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, and an executive producer and host of Fox’s Xploration Outer Space. Emily is the author of the picture book Reach for the Stars, the science experiment book Stay Curious and Keep Exploring, and the science chapter book series the Ada Lace Adventures. The third book in the series was launched to the International Space Station through the Story Time from Space program. Learn more at

About The Illustrator

Renée Kurilla is an illustrator of many books for kids, including Orangutanka: A Story in Poems by Margarita Engle, The Owls of Blossom Wood series by Catherine Coe, and the Ada Lace Adventure series by Emily Calandrelli. She has written a few books as well, including the picture book One Springy, Singy Day and the graphic novel The Flower Garden. She currently lives in Bellingham, Massachusetts, with her illustrator husband Keith Zoo, their six-year-old daughter Zoey, and Yoshi the fish. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 29, 2017)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481485999
  • Grades: 1 - 5
  • Ages: 6 - 10
  • Lexile ® 590L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ P These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

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Raves and Reviews

"Ada will be a welcome addition to the small circle of science-loving girls in the chapter-book world."

– Kirkus Reviews, 6/15/17

Calandrelli smoothly incorporates numerous references to scientific principles (such as Occam’s Razor) into the story, and the banter between Ada and Nina keeps things moving briskly."

– Publishers Weekly

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List

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More books from this illustrator: Renée Kurilla

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