The Institute of Fantastical Inventions by Dave Leys
Ill. by Shane Ogilvie. Harbour Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781922134936
(Ages: 9+) Themes: Inventions, Mystery, Science, Good and Evil, Espionage. Dave Leys' The Institute of Fantastical Inventions combines science, fantasy, creativity and humour in his slightly zany debut novel. Shane Ogilvie's digital cartoons showcase the weird fantasies and amazing inventions created by the technical officers and researchers at the Institute.
Chief Technical Officer Leo McGuffin loves his work fulfilling people's fantasies at the Institute of Fantastical Inventions. He's happiest working in his laboratory fulfilling people's requests, inventing potions and pills for flying, less freckles or floating around the house at midnight. His working relationship with Dr Andrea Allsop leaves a lot to be desired however, he pours out her special formula, leaves her floating and can't make her laugh with his terrible jokes and puns.
When ten-year-old boy genius Edward becomes Leo's intern, they work together to achieve boring Mr Mumble's desire to become an 'international man of mystery.' Leo and Edward seek help at Psychic Suzie's show, but unfortunately they anger the audience and leave with the understanding of the power of fantasies. During an excursion to a furniture shop, they discover an undercover spy wearing a Negaviz Harness. Leo and Edward uncover a devious plan to steal all the Institute's inventions and cause the ruin of Leo and his colleagues' workplace.
David Leys mixes up a crazy world of adventure and espionage in his middle school novel. He adds elements of danger - both human and animal - tanks full of threatening sea creatures and animal spies - squirrels wearing spy cameras and robotic rodents. Leo and Edward, ably assisted by the innovative Mr Mumble are ready to solve the Institute's worst nightmare.
The Institute of Fantastical Inventions delivers humour, celebrates science, magic, creativity and the power of imagination.