Gastronauts by James Foley
S. Tinker Inc. book 3. Fremantle Press, 2018. ISBN
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Brothers and Sisters, Robots, Inventions. Sally Tinker "the world's foremost inventor under the age of twelve" returns for another improbable venture in Gastronauts. James Foley's graphic novel takes us into uncharted territory, and this is perhaps Sally and her friend Charli's most disgusting journey to date.
Sally's previous inventions include the Resizenator which unfortunately "embiggenated" Dougie the dung beetle. Sally's newest invention is the smartCHIP which Charli suggests could minimise carbon dioxide emissions and reduce global warming, or shrink the world's rubbish to minimise pollution. She's also created the SMARTBOT designed to install, maintain and protect the chips. When her baby brother Joe accidentally swallows a test-tube filled with the tiny brain-enhancing little nanobots, Sally and Charlie must save the day. Imagine a superbaby with super powers wreaking havoc!
Sally and Charlie travel in the Sub with its onboard Resizenator inside Joe's body to stop him becoming a superbaby. Straight into Joe's stomach where undigested strawberries and a shrunken rubber ducky and boat float by. Unfortunately, Sally's super-tight security means there is no remote control to stop the smartbots installing the smartCHIP in the baby's brain.
While Ms Tinker Sally's Nan looks after Joe, the girls travel in the Sub through his intestines and finally up to his brain. Joe's superpowers become evident after he's eaten his Nan's prunes, he's jet-propelled around the neighbourhood by his farts. How do Sally and Charlie save the day?
James Foley's unique characters, crazy situations and unusual adventures engage the young reader. His cartoons capture the grossness of the girl's journey and of course their special re-entry into the real world. Scientific experiments and inventions underpin this humourous story and the key themes of family, being responsible and supportive friendships are included.