Young Walter Mortinson is an inventor. Perhaps more mad-scientist than genius inventor when you consider that some of his inventions include animating a dead rabbit. Needless to say, Walter Mortinson doesn’t have a lot of friends at school. No one else seems interested in what he is able to invent. And to add to what his classmates would find odd about him, Walter lives with his mother who runs the family mortuary business. Walter has inventing in his blood as his father Maxwell, was also a noted inventor.
One of Walter’s inventions goes awry and causes some havoc in their small town which has his mother pushing for Walter to settle in and learn the mortuary business, but at about the same time, Walter gets a letter from Horace Flasterborn. Flasterborn is the biggest name in inventions. Maxwell Mortinson worked for Flasterborn – was even heir to the Flasterborn empire – and now Horace, who has been keeping tabs on Walter from afar, has invited him to come be part of the Flasterborn Family just as his father was.
Along with a neighbor girl, who is also a school outcast, Walter takes the family hearse and heads off to meet the fabulous Flasterborn. But Walter will have to learn what’s really important in life before he makes a commitment.
This is a really great middle-grade novel. It starts out with a lot of fun as we see all the strange inventions. Young readers will definitely giggle as they read. And of course the names (of inventions and of people [Horace Flasterborn, Tippy Tedesco, etc]) are fun to say. I’ve written before about something I once heard Bruce Coville say about “Cool Things Per Page” and how the success of children’s books can often be attributed to the CTPP level (and Coville should know), The famous boy wizard books have a very high CTPP of course, and this book grabs our attention with a high CTPP qoutient.
But it’s almost as if this is two books. We turn a page (literally and figuratively) and the CTPP drops significantly as the book switches from fun exploration to a message novel of some youthful introspection. It’s all good work here, but it definitely could have been stronger if the two different aspects of the book could have been pulled together a bit more.
Author Quinn Sosna-Spear is definitely an author to watch for. This is a strong first showing and I look forward to whatever she brings next.
Looking for a good book? The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson by Quinn Sosna-Spear is a fun, middle-grade read with unique characters who make strong choices.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson
author: Quinn Sosna-Spear
publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
hardcover, 336 pages