Monday, January 27, 2014

The Field of Wacky Inventions

The Field of Wacky Inventions is the third and final book in Patrick Carman’s humorous middle grade series Floors.

To read them in proper order, you would read Floors first (review here), 3 Below second (review here) and then finally The Field of Wacky Inventions. To avoid any (light) spoilers, you might want to avoid this review until you’ve enjoyed those first two books.

Leo and Remi know the wealthy, eccentric, brilliant Mr. Whippet well enough to know that when hoists the entirety of the Whippet Hotel roof off of its attached building (with all three humans and a variety of ducks still upon in) to know that they are in for an adventure.

The true extent of their escapade does not become clear, however, until the roof settles down in the field of wacky inventions – a super-secret location that Merganzer D. Whippet spends his time inventing ridiculously amazing feats of cleverness.

It is here that Mr. Whippet introduces Leo and Remi to the leaders of other hotels he has created – and tells them all that they will have to compete for a prize involving building a whole new, wackier than ever hotel that could lead to excitement and wonder…

…or Leo and Remi’s loss of their beloved Whippet Hotel.

Just as in Floors and 3 Below, there is definitely a sense of Willy Wonka here. And I mean the movies, not the book – as, gulp, I’ve never read it.

Moving on from that shameful bibliophile confession…

The Field of Wacky Inventions is fun, but a little all over the place. It didn’t feel as quirkily mysterious as the first two (especially the first) and moved so fast I sometimes didn’t really know (or care) what was going on.

There was a sense that this third book was less buoyant, less interesting than Floors and 3 Below. Yet, I’m not saying it was bad at all – and I’m sure many middle grade readers will LOVE it.

For me, I just missed the Whippet Hotel and all its crazy inhabitants.

The screwball, silly vibe was still there – but, personally, it didn’t feel as engaging.

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