Book Title: The Greatest Inventor (available here)
Author: Ben Brooks
Illustrator: George Ermos
Publication Date: October 2020
Most Suitable For: Years 4-5
Reviewer: Emma Hughes
Meet Victor. Victor lives in the village of Rainwater, an industrious self-sufficient village in the mountains. Nothing exciting ever seems to happen in Rainwater and as a result, Victor is desperate to leave. One day, however, excitement builds as posters appear to advertise the arrival of a pedlar - a travelling salesman and inventor no less!
Victor and his pet tortoise Saint Oswald visit the show with great anticipation, eagerly waiting to see ‘Walter Swizwit’s Unfathomable Creations’. Villagers crowd to watch the demonstrations, but whilst the majority were left underwhelmed, Victor remained enthralled to see the mirror, the video and the toy farm. As Swizwit tries to sell his wares to the visitors, he becomes increasingly frustrated, embarrassed and downright humiliated. How dare these simple village folk laugh at him? He decides to leave the villagers a parting gift, as he sprinkles silver dust into the drinking well.
The next day, Victor heads straight up the mountain to do his chores and when he returns he cannot believe the fate that has struck his family. When it transpires that Victor is the only one not affected, he is sent to follow the charlatan and bring back a remedy. Victor and Saint Oswald set off with supplies and followed the Swizwit posters. Having never left the boundary before, he struggles his way to the next village where he finds a different fate has affected them all. All bar one girl, that is. The only thing that they can think to do is to travel on to the next village….
This feels very much like a Wizard of Oz style fairy tale, with a moral at its core. This is a delightful read that would be great read-aloud at bedtime or at the end of the school day.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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