4 Stars 

Cale “Tinker” Vardi wishes he could go to school, but on his planet, school costs money. He used to go to school, but that is before his parents died and his uncle took over his father’s repair shop- and Tinker ended up doing most of the work. His one hope of going to school is to win the Recycle Race scholarship to the Invention Institute, but his treacherous cousins are determined to make sure that he doesn’t.

This touching story is reminiscent of the first Harry Potter, at least in the beginning. Tinker is a hardworking,goodhearted kid and instantly likable. The villains are a little teo-dimensional- but that is to be expected in a book aimed at older elementary students. There is no overt Christian  content, but themes like hard work, personal responsibility and the value of kindness are there in abundance.


This book is actually a great find! Beginning chapter books for boys often have a lot of violence or promote video games…and science fiction is one if the hardest genres to find. If your child has not yet learned to love science fiction the way you do, “Tinker” is a great introduction. I had a real child assist me in this review. He said that it was “awesome and creative” and that “Tinker’s uncle and cousins were being mean to him.”


One of the few things that I disliked about the book is that it was not wrapped up at the end as much as I would like. While the ending is definitely satisfying and could not be described as a cliffhanger,  it was clear that it was part 1 of 2 and that you would need to read the second book to have all your questions answered.  While these are definitely concerns, high quality, clean science fiction for boys is hard to come by. I highly recommend this book! The child in question is very motivated to find out what happens next, so we have already purchased the sequel.


Content Ratings


Heat: none. There is no romance at all, anywhere.


Profanity : none.


Violence; both of Tinker’s parents are dead, but their deaths were accidental. Neither of the deaths are portrayed. There is a definitely antagonistic race, but nothing that could be called truly violent.


Available on Amazon


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