Nerni’s Ingenious Inventions Book Review

The Basics:

  • For 2 to 5-years-old and early readers (1st and 2nd grade)
  • 44 pages of more Nerni and Friends adventures
  • Perfect for early reading and sparking the imagination

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Reading
  • Imagination

Theme & Narrative:

  • “Once upon a time, there lived a little gnome named Nerni who loved to invent things.”

Endorsements:

  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Nerni’s Ingenious Inventions is the second book by children’s author Todd Edwards that stars the lovable, inventive, and super helpful gnome, Nerni. His first children’s book, Nerni Invents Clock, was a single story that did an excellent job of introducing the main character and her sidekick, Clock. The project was rather ambitious for a first time self-published book and included a light but entertaining story with whimsical illustrations all done by the author.  The story itself, was tested and refined by many hours of “bedtime stories” he told to his daughter. The final result was pure fun.

The second book is even more ambitious than the first. Instead of a single story, the book is comprised of four complete stories that introduce new friends and new problems for Nerni to tackle with her inventive mind. Clock returns to help Nerni and the same colorful illustrations are present to help tell the story and make it more visually appealing. A brief summary of each of the four stories follows:

  • Mice Trouble, wherein Nerni has some unwelcome guests and invents a way to get rid of them; however, the results are not as Nerni excepted.
  • Cold Tea, wherein Nerni and two of her friends go on a picnic and must come up with a creative way to warm their now cold tea.
  • Flying Goblin, wherein Nerni helps her potion-making goblin friend reach the top of the tallest of trees.
  • Og’s New Roaster, wherein Nerni is tasked with her most difficult problem to solve: a better way to roast coffee for all her friends!

Prediction

My little geeks have greatly enjoyed Nerni’s first adventure and it was one of the books my oldest little geek read as part of his homework assignment every night to help strengthen his reading skills. He would read it to himself some nights and to his brothers other nights. Each time out loud and each time there would be chuckles. Sadly, like so many books, it was placed aside and forgotten as new books arrived from the library. Nerni Invents Clock now lives on my children’s bookshelf along with the many other books they look through and read. Nerni still gets attention, but is no longer the “new and favorite”. Not at all surprising when you consider that my family goes to the library or visits the Library Bus every week. In fact, we use the local library so often, they know our family by first name and greet us like old friends….with books.

With the new stories about Nerni and a large assembly of new friends, I have little doubt that the newest book will find a great deal of reading time from my oldest and “picture reading” by my younger little geeks. There is something about Nerni that has captured their imagination. It might be the funny illustrations or perhaps the easy to follow and entertaining stories. Better yet, both. Whatever it might be, Neri was loved and will be loved again with the new book. Made even more impressive by the added volume and depth the new book provides.

When I showed my two oldest little geeks the book, they booth shouted “Nerni!” and grabbed it from me. Not too happy about the “grabbing out of my hand” reaction, but it was a positive one. As they went to the family room and jumped on the couch to read, my youngest little geek (age 2) got off the floor and jumped on the couch, too. And there they sat for the next 20 minutes, laughing, as my oldest read to his younger brothers.

Nerni has a loyal following in my household, to be certain. Let’s see if the new book makes that loyalty stronger or interest begins to wane.

Final Word

If Nerni had a fan club, I’m certain my family would be in it. Todd Edwards has compiled four excellent stories that are entertaining and engaging for my little geeks, deliver on message the importance of  a creative mind, and tackling problems with a smile and enthusiasm. More to point, Nerni’s upbeat attitude and eagerness to help her friends also sends a very positive message to the reader and listener the value of friendship, community, and helping others. All this and a talking clock as a sidekick, too!

New to the stories is some “inside adult geek humor” that was included in the book that only parents might get initially. For example, the first story, Mice Trouble, features an illustration that is a solid nod to the board game, Mouse Trap. There is also an illustration in Flying Goblin that depicts beaten up giant spiders who are very happy there are no more dwarves to deal with. This is a reference to J.R.R Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, where Bilbo and the dwarves ran into some nasty arachnid related business in Mirkwood. Now we get to see the results from the spider’s point of view.

Now that’s just cool.

A children's book with illustrations influenced by The Hobbit? OH, YES! Gotta love Geeks....

While Nerni is just as fun as it was last time for my 2 and 4-year-old, the more in-depth stories and longer narrative engages my 7-year-old as an early reader. The word usage and type are easy to read and the stories flow quickly to ensure the reader does not lose interest. This has allowed my 7-year-old to read the book on his own, which he has decided to do on many occasions. As a parent, you most certainly want to stress the importance of literature and literacy to your little geek, but to have them seek out books on their own helps a great deal. I’m not one to complain when my little geeks take the initiative, especially when it is in the right direction.

My oldest little geeks likes to read Nerni...alone...without his father taking pictures

Parent Geeks, Todd Edwards has once again written a fun to read book with a very positive message that encourages inventive thinking and problem solving. Through the use of simple narrative and colorful illustrations, little geeks will enjoy and become engaged in Nerni’s adventures with her friends. This book is also excellent for your younger readers. Fun stories and captivating characters will keep them engaged without burdening them with too much complexity. This excellent mix of story telling, reinforcement of reading skills, and positive message of creative thinking should make this book and its stories of special interest to librarians and teachers in grade school, too. This is especially true for 1st and 2nd grades.

Child Geeks, Nerni is at it again, and this time, she has a lot more friends to help her solve problems with creative inventions! There is simply nothing that Nerni cannot accomplish when she puts her mind to it and the same goes for you! Nerni invents fantastic machines and special friends, and while you might be years away yet from inventing your first talking robot clock, you already have the ability, the talent, and the imagination to discover solutions to everyday issues just like Nerni! Who knew that gnomes could be such excellent role models?

Todd Edwards continues to impress me, both as a writer, a father, and as a geek. His many interests, his chosen career, and busy life would lead one to believe he barley has enough time to brush his teeth and find his pants let alone be a family man, a creative writer, and a whimsical artist. And yet he does it all and without much in the way difficulty. His latest book, Nerni’s Ingenious Invention, is a wonderful addition to the growing Nerni universe that was started and continues to grow through stories at bedtime with his daughter. I expect we shall see more Nerni adventures in future books and short stories. That is something that my little geeks and I look forward to.

If you’d like to follow Todd Edwards and learn more about his writing, you can visit his official web site for Nerni and her friends, follow him on Facebook, or Google+. If you’d like to purchase this book for your own family library or school, you can do so by visiting Amazon.com.

This book was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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2 Responses to Nerni’s Ingenious Inventions Book Review

  1. Todd Edwards says:

    Hey Cyrus, thanks for writing such an in depth review! I’m glad your geeks like it. I created the stories for my girls, and I’m glad to hear that boys enjoy them too!

    • Cyrus says:

      The great thing about Nerni is that her message is not boy or girl specific. There is nothing overly cute or “girly” about Nerni to turn boys away and there is nothing overly “boyish” to make the girls roll their eyes. 🙂

      Well done and keep up the great work!

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