The Greatest Inventor
By Author / Illustrator
Ben Brooks, George Ermos
Hachette Children's Group
Join the adventure. Break the curse. Find your way home. A magical new adventure from the bestselling author of THE IMPOSSIBLE BOY.
Victor is skeptical when Walter Swizwit comes to the village of Rainwater. He's the latest in a string of inventors passing through, and no one wants to buy his cheap magic tricks. But Walter doesn't take rejection well, and puts a curse on the village. Only Victor is unaffected and he must leave Rainwater for the first time in his life if he's to find the cure.
Victor's path takes him past other villages that Walter has damaged, and he picks up new companions on the way: Elena, handy with bow and arrow, Mo-Lan, a science prodigy, and scaredy-cat Mingus. It's soon clear that they underestimated Walter's power. Only he has the cure for his magic and he's locked away in his castle a thousand leagues away.
But he's not the only inventor out there... If Victor and his friends can get someone more powerful on their side, maybe they can win: find Walter, break the curse and return as heroes. After all, there's no place like home...
The Greatest Inventor by Ben Brooks is a magical new adventure story that takes the reader on a journey through numerous villages to rescue people who have become lost within themselves. The story starts when a writer wanders into an unknown wood and comes across a rather unusual tortoise. He is given refuge by the owner of the tortoise, who then insists on telling him a story.
As the boy begins his story, we are introduced to the main character, Victor, a curious young boy with a desire to see the world beyond his dull village. One day, a pedlar (Walter Swizwit) passes through his village trying to sell his inventions; however, when the village refuses to buy the inventions, the pedlar seeks revenge with a curse. The pedlar disappears having created chaos and catastrophe, leaving Victor with no choice but to leave his village with his tortoise 'Saint Oswald' to seek out the pedlar to rectify the damage that he has done.
As Victor travels to find the pedlar's whereabouts, he passes through many villages that have also been ruined by the pedlar. Elena, Mingus, and Mo-Lan agree to join Victor so that they can restore order in their villages.
With his new friends, they travel to Kaftan Manor to confront Walter Swizwits but instead are thrown into the dungeon, where they make a surprise discovery... Now they must find a way to escape, return to their villages and restore order, but their journey back to help them free their parents takes many different twists and turns and there are many problems to resolve.
There are a number of plots in this book and sometimes they become a little confusing. However, I love how each village has a unique purpose and how they all interconnect. Furthermore, I like how the ending connects the present, past and future of the village people to highlight how becoming lost in yourself does not mean that you cannot change if you try hard enough.
This book would make a good end of day story for Upper KS2 and could be used for Guided Reading to develop pupils' understanding of features within a story, as well as develop reading skills. There are many opportunities to use the themes to create independent writing 'settings/letters/diary entries/manuals for inventions' to name but a few.
256 pages / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+