Monday, November 23, 2009

Tim Kehoe's The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow ~ Reviewed

The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow
by Tim Kehoe
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316056650


Vincent Shadow isn't particularly good at sports and is constantly being picked on by his classmates at Central Middle School. But it is Vincent's unusually creative mind that truly separates him from other kids his age.

Vincent's top secret attic lab is crammed with toy prototypes --from Liquid Superballs to Bullz-I Basketballs and Sonic Snorkelz--and he has a sketch book filled with drawings of toys he still wants to build. So when a chance encounter with an eccentric toy inventor offers him the opportunity to go from unknown weird kid to toy inventor extraordinaire, Vincent realizes that playtime is over: it's time to get serious about toys.


Vincent Shadow, a winsome, spunky eleven-year-old, has lost his Mom, his cohort in inventing toys. . Creating a new stepmom equal to Cinderella's, along with two annoying stepsisters, Kehoe delightfully adds a third stepsister, Stella. With Stella as his new stalwart encourager, Vincent wildly attempts to move from being the school's weird kid to winning the Annual Whizzer Toy Contest (and may I add that the emphasis there is on "wildly."

Except for getting exhausted from charging through his experiments with Vincent working night after night after night with no sleep, and except for constantly worrying how many children are going to read this book, attempt one of the experiments, and blow up his or her house, I found the book a perfect blend of appealing character, a captivating friendship, and a thrilling exploration of scientific ideas. Along with it being a fast-paced, fun romp, The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow will add wonder and excitement to any grade schooler's love of science.

Reviewed by Barbara Davidson

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