Vincent Shadow has a secret lab in his house where he invents toys. This sounds like a great idea, until you consider the unpleasant side effects. Like the day an experiment went wrong and Vincent was blue at the breakfast table (not the depressed kind of blue; he was actually blue). Or the fact that his family members keep finding broken toys and appliances, since Vincent uses the parts to invent new things.
Vincent's new stepmother isn't crazy about Vincent, and his father is very busy at work. When the eccentric boss of a famous toy company announces his annual toy invention contest, will Vincent be allowed to show the world something special?
Since the author was a toy inventor himself, the book carries a sense of fun and enthusiasm about the invention process which is infectious. This is a great book for any reluctant readers who are passionate builders (although it comes with a large disclaimer on the first page telling students not to try any of the ideas at home). Avid readers will also be happy to dive into this tale. Vincent is dealing with the loss of his mother, who supported his dreams and helped him set up the lab, and his character is well-developed. Other characters pale in comparison, but the topic is highly engaging and the plot keeps readers turning the pages.
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions coming soon**
If you liked this book, you might also like . . .