Adventure is always just around the corner for a scientist who is not afraid to blow things up.  Avril is a luckless, but goodhearted, scientist with a weakness for snacks and a propensity for explosive laboratory accidents. Just as she is about to leave her bully of a boss, Dr. Weatherby at Leviticus laboratories, another misstep reactivates the remnants of an outlawed experiment in human cloning, (breaking rule 149, rule 837 and directive 17 of the 1991 statutes).

“We have explosives and we have sugar. Let’s rock and roll.”

page 191

Now Avril is on the run, along with three unusual clones; a self-important talking dog, a chivalrous gentleman who seems to be cloned from William Shakespeare or Napoleon Bonaparte (costume included) and a spunky little girl whom Avril names Edna. It’s all quite silly to begin with, but high adventure, intrigue and real danger follow.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Avril Crump was a childhood outcast, but her life took a turn for the better when her Auntie Primula brought her the wrong package for her 6th birthday. As it turned out, Uncle Edgar’s chemistry set (rather than the dead stuffed kittens) was the thing that finally made her a happy girl and set in motion the adventure that follows. What more could a nerdy girl want than the friendship of a cast of loveable clones?

Rating (4 stars)

This book is an absolutely wonderful romp. All of the characters are lovable (except, of course the bad guys) Author Woolfe’s clones must have been the product of a weird dream! It has a British taste in humor, with a fast moving adventure, complete with mad scientists, henchmen and even a few frightening bits. The science is ridiculous, but even kids know enough to be amused and not insulted. Recommended for ages 8-11.