Kirkus Reviews QR Code
COPPERNICKEL by Wouter van Reek


The Invention

by Wouter van Reek & illustrated by Wouter van Reek

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: June 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59270-100-1
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Jumbled visuals fell a promising plot. Billed as a bird in the blurb but looking more like a ferret in a red hoodie in the art, impetuous Coppernickel decides to invent an elderberry-picker/crusher. Pinning up a blank piece of paper, he sketches out an impenetrably complex, wildly Rube Goldbergian machine that not only fills up the entire wall but then comes to life and snatches him up. Fortunately, his calmer canine companion Tungsten pulls the emergency brake—whereupon the two go out to pick elderberries with a long forked stick. Children who aren’t already bewildered by the mechanical tangle will be thrown by van Reek’s abrupt shifts in narrative style, as simply drawn cartoon scenes give way without transition to spreads with dozens of tiny panels then revert. The episode has also been produced as a short film with its original Dutch title Keepvogel. Perhaps it hangs together better in that medium. (Picture book. 6-8)