CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers. (Arthur Slade's Canadian Chills #3).
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2007.
115 pp., pbk., $7.95.
Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.
Review by Tanya Boudreau.
I had the feeling that soon we would find out who was delivering all of these bars. Maybe it was a mayoral campaign. There had to be a giant factory somewhere, or thousands of grandmothers working day and night, to make so many Nanaimo bars. Archie swooped past several more doorsteps dotted with plates of Nanaimo bars. But a block further away, there were no more bars. They had all been stolen, taken inside, or perhaps they hadn't been delivered yet.
"Higher!" I barked into the walkie-talkie. Archimedes flew several stories above the rooftops, to give us a traffic helicopter view. He turned his head and I saw ferries at the dock. He turned again and I glimpsed a mess of buildings towards the downtown. I thought I could even see the Bastion tower. The suddenly everything flipped upside down.
"Don''t fly upside down!" I shouted. Archimedes immediately flipped right side up. He looked down at the street and a distant flash of silver flickered on the screen.
"Follow that flash," I commanded.
Archimedes dived down towards it, but the flash appeared and disappeared. I couldn't get a fix on what it was. He swooped past the rooftops and zeroed in on the object. It was zipping along the sidewalk faster than an unmanned skateboard. I squinted at the screen.
Archie hovered above the strangest sight I'd ever seen....
Nanaimo bars are being left in Gordon Whillickers' neighborhood. They mysteriously arrive at each house with a flattering note, and the supply seems to be never-ending. Fortunately, Gordon never gets a first bite. Before he can eat one, a hairy-armed, pink nail polish-wearing thief sticks her arm through his bedroom window and runs off with his dessert! A chase ensues, and a mystery unravels. Working as a team with his friend Sophia, his pet parrot Archimedes, a newly non-chocolate eating librarian, and a seven foot tall, one hundred plus year old guarder of the Nanaimo bars, Gordon brings the residents of Nanaimo, British Columbia, back to their former selves.
Little did Gordon and his team know they were on a quest to save everyone's brain! As the team ponders the reason behind the Nanaimo bar deliveries, they notice their parents and their neighbors acting very strangely. Gordon's mom is wearing curlers and vacuuming - two things she never does, and Gordon's down-the-road neighbor, the professional clown, is glued to her blaring TV like a mindless zombie. Actually, everyone is town is now tuned into and obsessed with 1973 TV shows like the Friendly Giant. When not watching TV, the residents spend their time eating Nanaimo bars, keeping everything tidy and clean, encouraging others to try this wonderful dessert, and asking about ear cleanliness!
Gordon, Sophia, and his highly intelligent and trained parrot go to the one person in town who they believe might have escaped this Nanaimo bar inducing transformation - the librarian. "Deb the Bookhead" shows them the "real library," and she supplies them with a much needed translator for their encounter ahead at the Bastion tower.
Arthur Slade's novel Dust won the 2001 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature. Invasion of the IQ Snatchers is his third book in the "Canadian Chills" series (see reviews for book 1 and book 2). Slade had fun with some elements of the supernatural in this book. His more legendary and speculative characters have purposes, backgrounds and knowledge that are surprising and fun to read about. And of course, being a librarian myself, I loved reading about all the connections the librarian in this story has!
I think each main character in this book probably could have solved the Nanaimo bar mystery themselves because they are very intelligent, but their working as a team ensured fun for us and a sense of community for them! There is a happy ending for all as one character is finally sent home in a blaze of light, new friendships begin, and exciting underwater exploring plans are made for the summer.
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers is a page-turning story that can appeal to many readers. A little nanotechnology explains the moving chocolate on the Nanaimo bars. A little humor is introduced through crazy Archimedes, and a little history and science are added throughout the book by way of Gordon and Sophia's extensive knowledge of many subjects. This story will have young readers wanting to read more books in this series!
Tanya Boudreau is a Youth Services Librarian and Resource Librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.
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