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Spies, Inventions and Fun: Review of The Institute of Fantastical Inventions by Dave Leys

September 11, 2018

Leo McGuffin is a scientist and inventor, a job most kids would consider to be the best in the world. As Chief Technical Officer at The Institute of Fantastical Inventions, he handles the many and varied customer requests for a very broad range of weird and wonderful inventions.

If you have always imagined it would be to your advantage to have a third leg, fly, become invisible or float like a bubble then The Institute of Fantastical Inventions can help. However, they are not limited to physical changes, they can handle personality changes too!

When Roger Mumble, the most forgettable man on the planet decides that he’s had enough, and he wants to become an international man of mystery – with an emphasis on the mystery – Leo and his child genius intern Edward need to start investigating exactly what it is that makes someone mysterious and unknown.

 The world of spies seems like the natural place to start. However, when they do finally come across a spy they end up getting a little more than information. Suddenly Leo and Edward find themselves on the trail of some highly questionable people who are putting the Institute and everything it stands for at risk.

Along the way Leo manages to annoy fellow inventor Dr Andrea Allsop – while quite brilliant himself, Leo’s enthusiasm for his work and the excitement of a discovery means that things are often chaotic while he’s working through a solution. Will Leo and Andrea have to overcome their problems to save the day and how could Roger’s mysterious new personality help?

If you have a little one who is always cobbling together strange creations, is crazy about science and experiments, likes a good spy story or just a story that provides a good dose of craziness then this debut from high school English teacher Dave Leys could be the perfect book to put on top of the ‘to read’ pile.

There’s lots of fun, lots of colour and as expected, experiments that go hilariously wrong. 10+ readers will be looking for Dave Leys’ next offering and a genuine interest in science could be the result of this light-hearted look at life in a laboratory.

Purchase a copy of The Institute of Fantastical Inventions | Read an extract | Read more from Dave Leys

Dave Leys lives in Sydney, Australia. He is able to read and walk at the same time, only occasionally bumping into parked cars. He wishes he knew more about science and is attempting to make that wish come true by studying the weird and wonderful world around him. In his job as a high school teacher of English, he gets to keep in touch with the wonderful sensibilities of young people and the marvellous possibilities of language.


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