Review Blog

Aug 11 2016

The genius factor: How to capture an invisible cat by Paul Tobin

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Ill. by Thierry Lafontaine. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781619638402
(Age: 9+) Nate Bannister is a socially awkward, sixth grade student with a brilliant creative mind, with an amazing IQ, tested at school and confirmed by professionals. He is an amazing inventor, and has a mechanical nose, a self-driving car and has accelerated his dog Bosper and he now is able to talk.
Every Friday the 13th, Nate undertakes three not-so-smart things, just to make his not-so-normal life even more interesting. On this occasion, he has taught Maths to a caterpillar, mailed a love-letter and rather unfortunately changed Piston his cat into a super-sized invisible pet. Delphine, one of the students in his class and afterschool dog walker, observes Nate's differences. After a chance encounter at the dog park, Nate invites Delphine over to his house and they become embroiled in a crazy race to capture Piston the enormous cat who has escaped the backyard and is likely to destroy everything in town.
Nate's ability to drive the family car is an asset; he's mailed six special messages that need to be found quickly because when combined they form conjoined molecules that provide the formula for reversing Piston's size issues. Added to these dramas, the Red Death Tea Society and its leader Sir Jakob Maculte are determined to foil Nate and Delphine's mission before Saturday the 14th.
Simple black and white illustrations drawn by Thierry Lafontaine focus on some of Nate's craziest ideas - anti-gravity cloth tinfoil, Sir William the robot gull and pill bottles filled with survival pills. The reader needs to accept without question the craziness of Nate's life, and step on board for a wild ride.
Rhyllis Bignell

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