Ally Kennen has been an archaeologist, museum guard and singer-songwriter. Her dark and thrilling teen novels have been nominated for over eleven literary awards.
She lives in Somerset with her husband and four children.
5 Favourite Things about Olly
by Ally Kennen
In my new book, The Everything Machine, eleven year old Olly gets a wrong delivery. Instead of the rabbit hutch he had been expecting, he receives a cutting-edge, super 3D printer. And it talks. And it is called Russell. It can make absolutely anything.
Olly, with his nine year old brother, Stevie, and super -techie sister, Bird, fourteen, embark on a wild printing spree, making sweets, toys and a swimming pool.
Then they print what they really want, which is a robotic replica of their dad. Mister Rob.
The real thing walked out 2 months earlier and they haven’t seen him since.
Olly is the narrator of the story. He is both elated and terrified about the machine which he has secretly hidden in the shed.
And what are my favourite things about Olly? The thing I like most about him is his real affection for his little brother, Stevie. They have silent ‘mind-conversations’ and play endless football. Sure they argue, but there is no denying they are a tight knit team. Olly is also secretly very sweet to his baby sister, looking after her when their crazy -robot-dad, kidnaps their mum in a misguided attempt to make her happy. The children (or rather Bird) then have to decipher Mister Rob’s ‘thought-leaks’ which are lines of computer code, in order to find Mum, rescue her, and then to save the world from a data melt down.
Olly is also extremely persistent. He really REALLY wants rabbits. The answer is no, but he goes ahead and buys a rabbit hutch anyway. He hopes the sheer momentum will bring those rabbits closer. (Though of course the hutch never arrives) He doesn’t always do what he is told, for example, the packaging of the printer says DEADLY, DO NOT TAMPER WITH CONTENTS, but he decides he will not Tamper only Look.
This of course, leads to a great deal of Tampering.
Olly and his brother often mix their words up. Olly thinks ‘pioneer’ has something to do with squirrels, and explains to his little brother that ‘Animatronics’ means ‘music from other countries.’ Until their big sister explains that it is the technique for making motorised puppets, or robots.
They both get very confused, very often, but plough on anyway.
I like that.
Olly is an imaginative child, and he talks quite a lot of nonsense. I find this endearing. I would love to be brave enough to speak as freely as Olly. When they print a swimming pool and construct it in the old mobile home at the bottom of the garden, Olly tries to get his older sister to join them.
‘Ya ya ya!’ I skidded over to her. ‘Come and swim like a crazy moonlit monk.’
Olly is also brave. He will stop at nothing to rescue his mum. He also collaborates with his siblings and works hard. I also love his energy. When I am being a drab and boring grownup, huffing and puffing up the stairs and moaning about the small stuff, I need to think of Olly and Stevie, playing football at any opportunity, squeezing fun out of the smallest moments, charging up and down and getting into trouble every five minutes.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy the book.
Three kids let loose with a top-secret magical machine with a mind of it’s own… What could possibly go wrong?
Olly, Stevie and Bird have just had a very special delivery. It’s a machine that has a name, can speak and is able to print ANYTHING they want it to. How about a never-ending supply of sweets and a cool swimming pool in the shed, for starters?
But is getting everything you’ve ever wished for all it’s cracked up to be?