Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip is the wonderfully-named debut book by Lou Treleaven, who is a new author at Maverick. It's illustrated by Julia Patton, who also illustrated The Curious Tale of Fi-Rex, the Children In Need book that was written by a host of celebrities. The Madhouse kids had never heard me say oojamaflip before but I think it might have turned into their new favourite word - in fact, I wonder how they ever survived before having it in their vocabulary, especially as they dissolve into giggles every time they say it (which is often) !
The main character, Professor McQuark, is a fantastic rolemodel for little girls (and boys) because she's a very clever and very creative scientist. There are so many picture books featuring princesses, ballerinas and fashionistas that it's fabulous to see a book encouraging girls to become inventors and (slightly mad !) scientists.
Professor McQuark comes up with all sorts of crazy inventions and labour-saving devices - zip doors, tissues that say bless you and self-making beds all sound very useful and we decided that a wind-up goldfish that swims through air would be great fun !
In honour of the annual Science Fair, she comes up with the ultimate invention - the oojamaflip - but there's a problem. It's too big to fit inside the exhibition hall ! It all works out OK in the end though and she gets the recognition that she deserves.
The book is written in rhyme, which is always great news for a story that will be read out loud at bedtime, and the hugely detailed illustrations had us smiling and pointing out all sorts of things as we read along. I thought it had a bit of a Cat In The Hat vibe going on, both in terms of the slick rhymes and the entertaining drawings. It's fun, it's quirky and it promotes science to girls. It also led on to lots of fun discussions and crafting sessions afterwards, deciding what crazy inventions we could think of and design - what more could you ask for in a picture book?
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.