Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Fantasy Realism
What did you like about the book? Molly is 10 years old and just wants to be normal. But her Manic Pixie-esque mom is anything but “normal” like Ellen’s mom; who sends Ellen to school with food in packets and would NEVER make strange potions at home or talk about strange things. When a potion goes wrong (turning Molly’s mom into a TREE!), Molly has to team up with the equally strange boy in her class, Pim, to try to save her mother. Along the way she redefines friendships, realizes what matters most to her, and finds a strength in herself (and her strangeness) that she never knew she had. This is quirky and adorable and has some fun characters and good messages along with some fantasy elements (magical potions) and some really lovely writing: “Molly’s problem was a tiny dot in the night. And if you joined up all those dots, it would make the big, inexplicable shape of lives being lived. Lives went in all ways. Life was a jagged dance of joys and sorrows, up and then down and sometimes in knots or jolts or dizzying rushes over or around again.” The “voice” of Molly as our narrator is charming and really draws you right into the story from page one. There are little drawings scattered throughout (mostly of Molly’s dog and cat) and at the end a short “notebook” of Molly’s thoughts on a few herbs, animals and things like the stars.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Molly’s neighbors are a bit overly caricatures of Evil People and some might mistake the fun cover to mean the story is a bit like a travel-adventure when it is all distinctly a non-voyage-tale.
To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who love a bit of magic in their stories of friendship and good family relationships will love this.
Who should buy this book? Middle Schools, Public Libraries
Where would you shelve it? Middle Grade (Fantasy) Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson MA
Date of review: 2/3/17