Sunday, August 28, 2011

McMummy by Betsy Byars

This novel by Betsy Byars is a little bit dated, telephone booths still rule, and there are no mobile phones. Messages from overseas still arrive by telegram and the two main characters ring each other up from home lines; they don't text. There are many elements of the modern day novel missing, but if you like Betsy Byars as an author this book won't disappoint. The main character Mozie has lots of character (his adopted cat which fell out of a plane is called Pine Cone and he calls his house Crumb Castle), and it's fun to follow his adventures when he has to look after the plants in Professor Orloff's greenhouse which is located near a forbidding forest. His best friend, Batty has been grounded and he must make to visits to the spooky greenhouse to water and fertilise the plants there by himself. The scary thing is the huge pod tucked away in the far corner of the garden and it hums; it's downright weird. Mozie is both fascinated by it and scared of what could be inside. The huge thunder storm which wreaks havoc on the town adds to the intensity of the plant drama. There is no cast of thousands, the only two other significant characters are Mozie's mum, who sews dresses for a living and Valvoline, one of her clients. Then there is Richie, whom he babysits and Richie's mum, Mrs Hunter. It is a straightforward read, probably a good book to put between two challenging reads.

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