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Ninja Timmy, written and illustrated by Henrik Tamm, 224pp, RL 4

Ninja Timmy is the debut novel from Henrik Tamm. Tamm's day job is working as a conceptual designer in Hollywood, world building for animated and live-action movies like Shrek, the Chronicles of Narnia and Men in Black 3. And boy, does this guy knows how to build worlds. With illustrations. With words, he's got some catching up to do, but that is my adult critic opinion and I have no doubt that young readers will be as enthralled and enchanted by Tamm's story as I am by his artwork.

The world that Timmy lives in is old world European with a dash of steampunk and is inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, humans, and the occasional toy that has come to life. In the city of Elyzandrium, in a loft above a bakery, Timmy and his inventing crew, Simon, a handsome mink who loves the ladies, and Jasper and Casper, the piglet brothers, work to make machines that will simplify people's lives and line their pockets. Just when the crew has built a machine that will see them through the rest of the year (an automated orange peeler), things go very wrong.

Their machine is stolen by the Gribbles, warthog cousins, and delivered to Blue Rabbit, a toy turned bad who plans to steal the laughter from the children of Elyzandrium in order to give himself a soul. In the melee that follows, Timmy is almost thrown in jail before being rescued by a marvelous flying contraption, sent to his aid by a human, Alfred the toy maker. Alfred takes Timmy back to his workshop where they bond over their love of inventions, then Alfred takes Timmy to a magical series of caves where he finds a very rare flower that Alfred has only harvested once in his life, some forty years earlier.

Together with his old gang and new friends,  like Flores, the (girl, only girl) pilot, Timmy fights to stop the kidnappings of children happening around town with the help of the amazing machines and contraptions created by Alfred and Timmy. Tamm definitely has a gift for thinking up magical creations and Ninja Timmy is filled to the brim with them, from the clockwork creatures that Alfred creates (spiders, bats, helicopters and robots) to the Ziliosphere, a beautifully bejeweled blue orb that slows time, to the steampunk spy gear he makes for Timmy and his crew. Then there are the creepier contraptions that Blue Rabbit employs, from his steel hot air balloon with claw feet, to his steam-powered motorcycle riding reptiles, to the soul sucking machine.

While the evil Blue Rabbit is stopped in Ninja Timmy, there are always more inventions to build and villains to thwart, especially since this is a trilogy. Book 2, Ninja Timmy and the Journey to Sansoria, is already available in Tamm's native Sweden and should hit our shelves in 2017.

Source: Review Copy


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