The Tin Snail begins in Paris in 1937, when 12-year-old Angelo Fabrizzi sits in a cafe with his father, a pioneering car designer. Inspired by the shape of a lopsided pastry, Angelo gives his father an idea for a new aerodynamic car design. A year later, at the Paris Motor Show, several Nazis clear the way for Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, while Angelo gets behind the wheel of his father’s creation and makes an impactful, unexpected debut.
Angelo and his father end up living in the French countryside, continuing to work on a prototype of their car (nicknamed the Tin Snail), which is meant for everyday people, not just the rich. However, as the Nazis threaten to invade, desperate measures must be taken to hide the innovation. The excitement ramps up once the Germans arrive, along with a German car designer sent to spy. “Hitler himself wanted to see our car?” Angelo wonders in astonishment.
British television writer Cameron McCallister was inspired to write this book after reading a newspaper account about several car prototypes that were discovered, having been hidden in a French barn for 50 years. While McAllister uses World War II as his backdrop, he keeps the tone fairly light, concentrating on thrills and adventure during a dangerous era. Middle-grade car enthusiasts will keep turning the pages of this rollicking, imaginative novel.
RELATED CONTENT: Read a Q&A with McAllister about The Tin Snail.