Bertrand R. Brinley (1917-1994)
Rating: Buy, Hardcover, New (if you have kids)
When I was in grades three and four the teacher, Mrs. Campbell, organized a group purchase of books for the class twice or three times a year. One of the books my parents bought for me was a collection of short stories by Bertrand R. Brinley with the picture of a submarine on the front cover. It was called The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club. I happened to stumble across the a hardcover copy of the book at the local bookstore the other day so I bought it and the first book in the series The Mad Scientists' Club which I don't remember ever reading.
The Mad Scientists' Club follows the adventures of a group of teenage boys in the fictional town of Mammoth Falls. The book is a collection of short stories that debuted in Boy's Life Magazine forty years ago. You'll be amused as the boys compete and sometimes cooperate with their arch-rival Harmon Muldoon. I first read The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club at the age of nine and reading the same stories thirty years later I find that the humour comes through a lot more strongly. I read The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake out loud to my two and half year old daughter and my wife last night. Little Miss Bugbear sat rapt through most of the story and Mrs. Bugbear was laughing heartily at the antics.
Interestingly, the Mad Scientists' stories mark two watershed moments in life for me. The same year that I first read the Mad Scientists' stories I decided that I wanted to become an engineer; this year (if the PEO ever gets around to processing the paperwork) I'll become a professional engineer. While I await the ponderous bureaucratic machine of the PEO I'll work my way through the Mad Scientists' Club stories, I'm looking forward to the story that put the submarine on the cover of the second book.