Leo da Vinci vs The Ice-Cream Domination League by Michael Pryor
Writing for a younger age group for the first time, here’s much-loved Australian author Michael Pryor with a new series that centres on an inventor – 10-year-old Leo Da Vinci – who is bright and adventurous but, owing to his total preoccupation with righting wrongs, slightly socially awkward.
Leo’s inventions are part-home appliance, part-sophisticated materials that ordinarily a child wouldn’t have access to, and I enjoyed this interpretation of a child’s natural ability to invent using what they see around them as well as ‘special ingredients’ that they’ve heard about or seen on TV. The somewhat cheesy tone of the story continues with details such as Leo pausing mid-battle to go home for dinner, as well as with a talking pig and robot. The arrival of outgoing, enthusiastic Mina provides Leo with his first human friend. What he admires about her is a tender aspect of this story.
The chapters are short, the text nicely spaced, and several of Jules Faber’s illustrations are brilliantly detailed, so this is perfect for readers of 8 and over.
Emily Gale is the Online Children’s Specialist, and a Children’s & YA author the rest of the time.