I’m always on the lookout for exciting new reads for my Year 3 and 4 students, especially for those kids who are moving on from their tried and true favourite series. Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor is the first book in a new series that is perfect to bridge the gap between the more formulaic series’ for younger readers, and longer more developed novels. Leonora is a character that children will fall in love with and want to read more of her adventures.
Leonora Bolt lives in a lighthouse on remote Crabby Island with her scary Uncle Luther, their housekeeper Mildred, and her pet otter, Twitchy Nibbles. Leonora spends her days creating incredible inventions – like flameproof shampoo and an electric, sock-sorting octopus – watched over by her uncle. Life can be lonely on the island but Leonora gets to do the things that she loves. Her life changes dramatically one day when a boy washes up on her island. He tells her that her uncle is incredibly famous on the mainland as one of the world’s most amazing inventors. Leonora discovers that Uncle Luther has been stealing her inventions and selling them on the mainland as his own inventions. Not only that, but the parents that she believed were dead are, in fact, still alive. For the first time in her life Leonora must leave Crabby Island to stop her uncle from using her latest invention for dastardly deeds and discover the truth about her parents’ whereabouts.
Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor is bursting with imagination and adventure. There is something in the story for everyone, from mind-blowing inventions and giant piles of treasure, to disgusting food and daring escapes. There is adventure, mystery and plenty of laughs thrown in. Each of the characters are fantastic, from the brave and inventive Leonora to the dastardly Uncle Luther. Gladys Jose’s illustrations perfectly match the tone of the story and really capture the essence of the characters.
Readers will finish the story wanting to go on more adventures with Leonora and her friends, and luckily there are more adventures to come (including the second book, Deep Sea Calamity, which is out now). This would be a wonderful read aloud for Years 3-6.