THE world’s foremost kids inventor, Sally Tinker, is back with her greatest gadget yet – the “SMARTchip”.
The highly successful character was created by Palmyra children’s author James Foley, and he’s just released the latest in the Tinker series, Gastronauts.
Foley lures in youngsters with plenty of fart and pooh jokes and in Tinker’s latest gross-out adventure, she and friend Charli shrink themselves to venture into Joe’s bowel to shut it down.
“Joe is an agent for chaos…he usually helps create problems,” Foley says.
Narrated with illustrated panels, kids will laugh out loud and learn a bit about internal organs, starting with the stomach and moving onto the intestines and bowel.
And like his previous book Dungzilla, about a giant dung beetle, there’s plenty of the brown stuff.
Dungzilla was a sendup of B-grade movies such as Godzilla, and Gastronausts “is Fantastic Voyage with a twist,” Foley says.
He’s the proud dad of nine-month-old Matthew, who he says looks a bit like Joe, “but the first book was done before he was born, so it’s life imitating art.”
Foley’s hero Sally was a girl from the outset.
“Girls need more representation in science,” he says.
While a female hero may turn some boys off, Foley reckons it’s time for the likes of Sally: “We should expect more from our boys. A lot of publishers do girl and boy books…We need to move past that.”
A behavioural science degree, coupled with units in journalism and teaching was a good basis for being an author of kids books, Foley says.
“And psychology got me a day job while I was writing.”
He’s illustrated a number of other authors’ books including hilarious Sigi Cohen’s My Dead Bunny and Norman Jorgensen’s The Last Viking Returns.
Foley also runs comic book workshops for kids and will be at the State Library as part of the Awesome Festival on Tuesday October 2 and Friday 5.
Booking at trybooking.com/WMRV
by JENNY D’ANGER