Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE UNUSUAL MIND OF VINCENT SHADOW by Tim Kehoe

THE UNUSUAL MIND OF VINCENT SHADOW

By Tim Kehoe (Author) , Guy Francis (Illustrator) , Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-05665-6
Publisher: Little, Brown

Eleven-year-old Vincent Shadow used to invent toys with his artist mother in a secret lab they built in his bedroom closet. After her death, he continued trying to bring the headache-inducing visions he has to life as prototypes. Now his museum-director father has remarried the stereotypically mean Vibs, and Vincent has to put up with three stepsisters. When his father moves the family from New York City to Vibs’s hometown of Minneapolis, Vincent abandons inventing until an art teacher gets him to enter a toy contest, with predictable results. The first prize is a summer internship with reclusive toy maker Howard G. Whiz. A clichéd, meandering story and undeveloped characters mar this tired riff on “Cinderella” and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Vincent’s inventions are interesting, but the idea that he must steal the parts even when they are school assignments is silly and makes for a problematic protagonist. The 50 pages of Vincent’s invention notebook tacked on at the end are the one high point, with gee-whiz cartoon illustrations by Wohnoutka (the spot art for the story is supplied by Francis). Easily skippable. (Fiction. 8-12)