Tag Archives: Glenn Wood

Guest Author: Glenn Wood talks about The Brain Sucker

When I first came up with the idea for ‘The Brain Sucker’ it was quite different.  For a start it wasn’t called “The Brain Sucker’, it was called ‘The Manners Thief’.  This was an idea I’d been mulling over ever since I’d seen a really badly behaved kid running riot at my local supermarket (‘The frozen pea thrower’ was another working title).   It was as if the child had no manners at all and I wondered if someone had stolen them.  Then I started to notice more badly behaved children and decided there was definitely a manners thief on the loose.

From there I had to work out just how the manners were stolen and I came up with the idea of a villain who sucked the manners straight out of children’s heads for his own nefarious purposes.  Clearly he needed a machine that would do this and the brain sucking machine was born.

Now I had an idea and a villain with an evil plan.  Next I needed someone to stop him and I knew that would need to be someone who was really polite and not scared of a challenge.  Callum formed quickly as did his disability because it automatically made him a kid used to adversity with plenty of guts and determination.  Once I knew Callum would be in a wheelchair it opened up lots of possibilities for his friend Sophie to exercise her crazy inventive mind to ‘trick it out’.

Jinx was a character I’d been thinking about for some time.  I love the idea of the world’s unluckiest boy and he is based on me as a kid (and many would argue, as an adult).  I’ve always been accident prone and susceptible to bad luck.  He was easy to write!

Once the story was written my very smart publisher and editor asked if we could have the machine sucking more than just manners out of the kids – it would be much more evil if Lester sucked the goodness out of them.  I agreed and ‘the Brain Sucker’ started to take shape.

Writing Lester and his dumb but dangerous henchmen Darryl and Parson was lots of fun.  Lester is clearly insane but he’s also a twisted genius, my favourite kind of villain!  His plans are grandiose and a bit far farfetched, but I love evil doers who think on a grand scale, which is why I have always loved the villains in James Bond films!

My top five kid’s villains in no particular order would be:

  • Voldemort (of course)
  • Scar (The Lion King)
  • Megamind (best comic villain)
  • Principal Agatha Trunchbull (Roald Dahl’s Matilda)
  • Count Olaf

You can win a signed copy of Glenn’s fantastic book, The Brain Sucker, right here on the blog.  Check out the competition post and tell me about your world domination plan to get in the draw.

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Win a signed copy of The Brain Sucker

Glenn Wood’s fantastic debut children’s novel, The Brain Sucker, is released this week.  To celebrate, I’m having a week of brain-sucking fun, with my review of The Brain Sucker, a video of NZ comedian Jeremy Corbett reading the prologue, and a guest post from Glenn.

Thanks to Walker Books Australia I also have 5 signed copies of The Brain Sucker to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.

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Jeremy Corbett reads The Brain Sucker

NZ comedian and presenter of 7 Days, Jeremy Corbett reads the prologue to Glenn Wood’s fantastic new book, The Brain Sucker.  It’s one of the coolest books I’ve read lately and you can read my review here.

Tomorrow I’ll have 5 signed copies of The Brain Sucker up for grabs, so make sure you pop back and enter the draw.

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The Brain Sucker by Glenn Wood

I love a story with a great villain.  Some of them, like Patrick Ness’ Mayor Prentice and Chris Morphew’s Noah Shackleton, you hate so much because they’re incredibly evil men (and you really want to punch them in the face!).  Other villains are quite likeable because, no matter how hard they try, things really don’t work out for them.  Lester Smythe, in Glenn Wood’s fantastic debut children’s book, The Brain Sucker, is one such villain.

How would you act if part of your personality was stolen with a brain-sucking machine?

Lester Smythe has a black heart. He s invented a dangerous brain-sucking machine that removes the goodness from its victims, and he intends to use it to rid the world of all human kindness. But Lester didn t count on thirteen-year-old Callum McCullock and his two best friends, Sophie and Jinx. The trio vow to destroy the brain sucker. And nothing will stop them.

The Brain Sucker is one of the coolest junior fiction (middle grade) books I’ve read in ages!  The idea is original, the story is action-packed, the heroes are unlike any you’ve met before and the villain is sinister.  From the very first page, when the villain slinks onto the page, I knew I was going to love the story, and I greedily turned the pages wanting to know how it would end.

Lester Smythe is a sinister villain, but there’s also something awkward about him.  He reminded me of a cross between Gru (from Despicable Me) and Professor Doofenshmirtz (from Phineas and Ferb) and I almost expected him to announce that his brain sucking machine was the ‘Brain-suckinator.’ I think Craig Phillips has perfectly captured Lester in his front cover illustration (I especially like the way that Lester’s eyes catch the light).  Lester’s plan is to rid the world of goodness because anyone acting good makes him physically sick, due to a horrible experience when he was younger.  The machine that will help him with his task is the Brain Sucker, which sucks the goodness right out of people’s heads.  It’s up to the heroes of the story to save the day (and the world from becoming a miserable place).

The heroes of the story, Callum, Sophie and Jinx are unlike any heroes I’ve met before.  They all have flaws but they manage to overcome these to help save the day.  Callum is paralysed from the waist down so he’s wheelchair bound, but he’s really determined and doesn’t let his disability get in his way.  He’s also got one of the coolest wheelchairs around!  Sophie is Callum’s best friend and she’s incredibly talented and intelligent.  She has a mechanical mind, so she can make improvements to her toys or invent new gadgets to help her friend.  Her only problem is that she gets claustrophobic.  Jinx is the funniest character in the book, because he has really bad luck.  He’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether it’s a gas main exploding under his school desk or bird dive-bombing him.  You always know something bad is going to happen when he’s around, especially when his thumb starts to dance.

If you’re after a fun story, full of adventure, mystery, magic, exciting gadgets, and great characters, The Brain Sucker is the book for you.  I’d recommend it for 9+ and it would be a great read-aloud for Year 5-8.

4 out of 5 stars

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