Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review - The Tin Snail - by Cameron McAllister


Imagine the following fantasy pot filled and boiling over with magical ingredients from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a slice of reality from Dad's Army and a dash of occasion from Back Home. If you can picture this, then you should be getting quite close to the magical experience that I had when reading this book.  
Loosely inspired by real events, this story focuses on the birth of the first economy car produced by the French car manufacturer, Citroën. Even today, this car is still classed as an icon with it's utilitarian unconventional looks. The Tin Snail transports the reader back to the 1940's; a world of elegant and luxury automobiles produced for the super rich, although the story initially begins at the 1938 Paris Motor Show. This is a super start to a wonderful journey undertaken by a brave little car. But it soon finds itself facing a tough challenge:
  • to carry a farmer and his wife, 
  • a flagon of wine and a tray of eggs
  • across a bumpy field in a sleepy French village 
  • without spilling a drop or cracking a shell
However an even bigger challenge faces the car as a Nazi officer is bent on stealing the design for the enemy!

In my opinion, this is a beautifully written story. I loved every minute that I spent reading this book. It is easily set to be a classic hit this summer. A fantastic family read; this is a story with a big heart based on an amazing idea. A poignant tale filled full of warmth, great characters and the coming together for the common good. 

With France being invaded by Nazi soldiers during the early forties, this story gives an interesting insight into war at that time. This part of the story particularly captivated me. It really made me think about the struggles and hardships during that time.  This could make a good classroom read, in my opinion, as it is sensitively told.

This is easily one of my favourite books so far this year - a brilliant and magical read that will stay with me until the day that I die. It is a great debut story with bags of drive and vroom. One that I could see working really well as a tv adaptation or film. 

I would like to thank Matilda for tracking down a rare copy of this book. I have been told that the finished copy will include a beautifully drawn map inside the front cover, as well as other wonderful illustrations from Sam Usher. 

Apologies for the early review as this book is not due to be published until May 2014 by Jonathan Cape. However I just couldn't wait any longer; I really needed to start talking about this wonderful book. I hope that you enjoy it as I much as I did.



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