Well this was an absolutely adorable middle-grade read. And also full of useful information in case one of my family members accidentally turns into a tree. You never know when that kind of stuff will happen. We’re all pretty much at risk. But, like Molly (the protagonist) I’m great at cooking with chocolate and cashews so I WOULD SURVIVE THE TRAUMA TOO.
- It’s a children’s book (or middle-grade) and the voice is really adorable and endearing. I’m not sure if it mentioned how old Molly was…but I would say maybe 9 or 10? As an adult reader, I didn’t really connect to her. She craved normality, and seemed to have a very black-and-white and focused/serious way of thinking…but then at the end she was “weird” and “spontaneous”? SO YEAH. She’s an odd little moppet, but definitely an admirable heroine.
- There is a lot of food. I like food. So this suits me just fine. And the descriptions aren’t long, just detailed and crunchy. Like, it doesn’t say “jam”, it’ll say pomegranate and apricot jam. And doesn’t that just POP off the page?! (Although that was an example, because deluded me didn’t take notes.)
- It’s about friendship. Molly is friends with Ellen, who’s average (Molly has this hang up about wanting to be average) and then Molly gradually becomes friends with Pim. Pim is a dude. Yup. Surprised me too. I was very curious about Pim since he a) seemed to have no backstory, and b) slipped in and out of the story without leaving that much of a mark. I was expecting the book to bust out with “AND THIS IS WHO PIM IS!” but he basically just stayed a shadow character.
- It’s realistic but also magical. I mean, her mother turns into a TREE for goodness sakes. But still, they go to school and eat sausage rolls and the cat is a pain and the neighbours are awful and someone gets bitten by a deadly snake. Normal stuff.
- Also it’s Australian. I like Australian books!! And it’s not overly Australian. It just sneaks in now and then with references to kookaburras and magpies.
BUT. There were some things I didn’t like. Just small things.
- When Molly’s mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly spends less time freaking out and more time worrying what she’s going to eat. Which, um, okay…that is a legit concern. BUT STILL. A little callous?
- Pim really didn’t play as big a part as the title indicates.
- Speaking of which. WHAT IS WITH THE TITLE. Stars aren’t even mentioned until the very last sentence. Why isn’t it called Molly and Pim and The Time Her Mother Turned Into A Tree And the Neighbours Wanted to Cut her Up for Kindling. A little wordy, but totally more fitting.
- The chapters often felt like they cut off mid-thought. Not in a “omg what happens next!” sort of way, more of a “okay, BORED, let’s move on” sort of way.
This is definitely a cute, easy, and very delicious read. There are little drawings scattered about and the writing is vivid. There is food (so much win) and themes of courage and friendship and bravery and greenery. What more could you want really? And if devious children pluck this book off the shelf in order to learn HOW to turn their parents into trees — that can work for them, too. There’s a recipe.
(BAHHAHA. There is not. I’m joking.)
(But there are vague instructions.)
THANK YOU TEXT PUBLISHING FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray was published June, 2015.
Molly’s mother is not like other mothers: she rides a yellow bike and collects herbs and makes potions, perhaps even magical potions. Molly wants to be normal, like her friend Ellen, and watch television and eat food that comes in packets. But when Molly’s mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly turns to the strange and wonderful Pim for help. And as they look for a way to rescue her mother, Molly discovers how to be happy with the oddness in her life.
Martine Murray’s new illustrated middle-grade novel Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars is a whimsical story about friendship and individuality and learning to see the freshness and wonder in the world.