A tiny rural village does its part for the war effort by hiding what could be the greatest car ever invented.
When Angelo travels to the French countryside with his father to recover from a mortifying and dangerous episode at the 1938 Paris Motor Show, he doesn't expect to find any chance of redeeming himself. But that's exactly what happens. Witnessing the laborious efforts of the local villagers inspires a car design in Angelo's imagination, a vehicle built for the layperson who must drive miles over rough road to deliver goods. Angelo builds a prototype with an old lawn mower and trailer and convinces both his father and his father's boss that it's an idea worth pursuing. They seem to be on the brink of something great when World War II interrupts their work and they have to hide their prototypes, with the villagers’ help. McAllister's debut novel is based on a news story about three prototypes found in the hayloft of a barn in France in 1995. Kids will appreciate Angelo's confident, headlong enthusiasm and his hilarious mishaps driving across pocked fields, while adults will enjoy the new angle on both automotive and war history. The book's weak point lies in the last few pages, where the adventure comes to an end that's more convenient than satisfying.
An unusual, mostly successful wartime adventure. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)