Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

December 24, 2006


By Frank Cottrell Boyce
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

In this absolute charmer, Dylan lives in the tiny Welsh town of Manod, where it rains almost every day of the year, and his family runs the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel where they sell petrol (gas) and fix cars. But with the Oasis Auto Marvel at the end of a dead end road in a town which doesn't even have a sign to exit from the highway, things are not going so well for business. On top of that, Dylan is the last boy left in Manod minus his baby brother, so forget about playing soccer. Then suddenly, there is activity on top of the mountain road past the Auto Marvel where the old slate quarry is--the National Gallery in London has sent its entire collection of paintings to keep safely on the old mountain due to flooding at the museum. As the townspeople get glimpses of the different paintings, they find themselves moved and changed by the artwork, which in turn, begins to change life in Manod. But despite the best efforts of Dylan's family, the Auto Marvel is still failing, and his sister Minnie gets an idea--what if they could steal one of the paintings and hold it for ransom? Then they'd be able to pay off their debts. But can a couple of kids and an adult obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pull off the robbery of the century? This a extremely likeable story, filled with great characters and the transformative powers of art. Not to mention the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Big thumbs up.


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