My first reaction when picking up Danny Dingle's Fantastic Finds: The Metal Mobile is "I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but, wowee this looks fun!" And that's coming from a thirty-something year old that is very lucky to see lots of different books on a daily basis!
It's not just that it's a lovely bright blue colour, with funky cartoon characters surrounding the equally cool type setting of the title, it's those little things like the fact that the cover is tactile, with bumpy bits, and the blue has leaked onto the edges of all the pages so when it's closed the whole thing is blue instead of the usual cream paper colour.
This book is aimed at the 7 - 8 age group, and is probably more geared up for boys (there's rather a lot of farting going on) but I personally found it hilarious! The lead character, Danny and his best friend Percy, spend their days hanging out together finding ways to become super-cool spys. Danny is incredibly imaginative, and can see the potential in anything for helping him achieve his dreams of one day becoming an assistant to Metal Face, the boys favourite super hero.
Danny's dad is excellent at feeding their imagination, and is often helping them out with inventions, he gets particularly involved in the making of the metal-mobile for their school competition. I think parents will relate to those moments when Mum's had enough of all the farting and silliness and Dad's forgotten that he's a grown up and is getting more involved in the making and building of toys than the kids do! There's even an arch rival, aptly named Gareth Trumpshaw, who is constantly annoying the boys with his fancy inventions.
These books have a similar feel to Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. They're very accessible with lots of different fun fonts and brilliant illustrations to keep readers engaged. The story itself, while is a bit silly at times is actually a really nice lesson about working as a team, being creative and imaginative and the importance of appreciating what you've got and not being envious of others. Although I'm pretty sure that young readers will be too busy laughing at Danny's crazy antics, and his weird jelly flavours, to worry about any of that! I would definitely recommend this book to any children looking for something light and fun and especially to those who tend to be reluctant readers.
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