The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister
|The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: High-spirited story of the creation of one of the first "people's cars" - the CV2. Based on truth but with a sprinkle of magic, this is a fun story for every reader. We loved it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: May 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
It's France at the 1938 Paris Motor Show. A wonderful new car has been unveiled: the Deux Chevaux or 2CV for short. It looks a bit odd and is nicknamed Tin Snail but this is a car for the people: functional, reliable, affordable. And its inventor is just 13 years old! But WWII is about to break out and France is about to be occupied by the Germans. The Tin Snail must face a perilous journey - to carry a farmer and his wife, a flagon of wine and a tray of eggs, across a bumpy field in a sleepy French village without spilling a drop or cracking a shell - and then go into hiding...
... the Nazis must never find the prototypes or the designs - despite the best efforts of a German officer intent on discovery.
What follows is a madcap tale of adventure and magic.
Truly, I loved this delightful novel. It's intended for middle grade readers but people of all ages will love it. It's based on a true story but McAllister has changed a great deal, creating a book that will entertain and enthuse almost every reader I can think of. My press blurb says that it has a dash of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, a pinch of HUGO, and a sprinkling of DAD'S ARMY and I would say that's about right. It might be set in France but it feels rather British: full of pluck and bravado plus a little bit of slapstick.
The head of Citroen, Pierre-Jules Boulanger, really did order the destruction of all the 2CV prototypes when WWII broke out. And two designers really did hide three of them in a sleepy French village. Boulanger also did move the oil marks on dipsticks so that the cars he was forced to make for the occupying Germans broke down frequently. What a guy! And his is a true story that should be told to a wider audience. Even so, I defy you not to be entranced by McAllister's take on it. Imagine if the 2CV really had been invented by 13-year-old boy!
You might also enjoy Johnny Swanson by Eleanor Updale, a super old-fashioned adventure story set in 1929, featuring murder, mayhem, scam adverts and medical malpractice.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister at Amazon.com.
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