A boy becomes miniaturized after falling into experimental goo in this children’s picture book, the first of a planned series.
Willie Lumperton, a young white boy, lives with his Uncle Rupert, a brilliant scientist, in the small town of Smithville. At his top-secret factory, Rupert works on a new invisibility formula—a “shiny green liquid”—with one problem: It also miniaturizes. On a visit, Willie leans over the tank for a better look and falls in with a crash and flash of light. He pulls himself out, but sitting down outside with a bad headache, he has an alarming revelation: He’s now 6 inches tall and can speak with animals. Two friendly ones, a turtle named Dunklin and Figbee, a chipmunk, help Willie try to get the attention of the factory’s friendly security guard, Ben, but he’s too small. Or maybe he’s also invisible to humans? Willie must find a way to get home to Uncle Rupert, but at his size, that’ll be a long journey. Until then, he’s got his new friends for company and help. Beining (Mrs. B, Substitute Grandma, 2017, etc.) has an intriguing concept. Miniature worlds can be fascinating, like when Willie takes shelter from giant raindrops. The animal-friends theme also appeals. The story, though, reads more like a first chapter than a stand-alone book. The illustrations (which are uncredited) are flat and cartoonish but helpful in establishing Willie’s new world.
Ends just as it’s getting started.