Since 1960, boys and girls alike have enjoyed reading about the adventures of Alvin Fernald and his Magnificent Brain. Whenever his brain clicks into action, a glassy stare comes into Alvin’s eyes and not even his troublesome sister, lovingly known as “The Pest”, can distract him from his work. Whether it’s creating the Foolproof Burglar Alarm for his bedroom door or developing the Sure Shot Paper Slinger for delivering newspapers from his bike, Alvin is always in search of another marvelous invention. In this book, the first in the series, a set of mysterious circumstances surrounding the Old Huntley Place is all the inspiration that Alvin needs for his sleuthing.
The Alvin Fernald books were already modern classics when I discovered them as a child, and although they might be slightly hard to find they are actually still in print today! The author, Clifford B. Hicks, also served as an editor for Popular Mechanics magazine, so one neat feature of these books is that all of Alvin’s creations are actually realistic! Based on the descriptions in the stories, a tinkering reader can easily re-create some of the inventions within. Mr. Hicks seemed to know both the inner workings of machines, as well as young boys’ brains, which makes these books such enduring stories today.