The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin
April 12, 2016
Roald Dahl meets The Penderwicks in this quirky, humorous, whimsical, and heartwarming middle grade debut about two siblings who run away from home to escape working in the family coffin business. John Coggin is no ordinary boy. He is devising an invention that nobody has ever seen before, something that just might change the world, or at least make life a little bit better for him and his little sister, Page. But that’s only when he can sneak a break from his loathsome job—building coffins for the family business under the beady gaze of his cruel Great-Aunt Beauregard. When Great-Aunt Beauregard informs John that she’s going to make him a permanent partner in Coggin Family Coffins—and train Page to be an undertaker—John and Page hit the road. Before long, they’ve fallen in with a host of colorful characters, all of whom, like John and Page, are in search of a place they can call home. But home isn’t something you find so much as something you fight for, and John soon realizes that he and Page are in for the fight of their lives.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
There are plenty of goofy moments in this book-- John is referred to as Dung Boy in the circus, since he first meets most of the performers after stepping in a horse patty, chicken poo is used for fuel for John's engines, and there are a lot of small, gross moments where boogers drop from people's noses into their soup.
While Beauregard is nothing but evil, John and Page are fortunate enough to find a variety of caring people to help them. I loved Maria and the scenes in the bakery; it was somewhat reminiscent of the scene in The Box Car Children. If I were running away from home and hungry, I would certainly look for an alley to sleep in very close to a bakery. It was especially nice that Maria came looking for the children even after they burned her business to the ground.
Like Ardagh's Eddie Dickens Trilogy, Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, or Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, The Mechanical Mind of John Coggins pits orphaned children against a variety of evil adults who think nothing of sacrificing them for an evil agenda. Using language much like Snicket's, in that the vocabulary is rather rarified and obscure, Teele draws a quirky, dangerous world full of intrigue and adventure for her hapless but resourceful characters.
There are no user reviews for this listing.