Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Molly doesn’t want to know anything about herbs and potions. She wishes she could be more like her best friend, Ellen, who has a normal family and a normal house. But she is also secretly interested in Pim, who is inquisitive and odd and a little bit frightening.
When Molly’s mama makes a potion that has a wild and shocking effect, Molly and Pim look for a way to make things right, and Molly discovers the magic and value of her own unusual life.
This novel is The Loveliest. Sweet and splendid and magical, while still being of-this-world. Molly longs to be as normal as her friend Ellen (who gets muesli bars in her lunchbox and doesn't have a mum that wanders about the woods barefoot, collecting herbs for potions) and this is something I think young readers will definitely relate to (everyone has thought at some point "my family is the weirdest" - eventually you realise everyone's family is weird and that's okay and sometimes even great).
Molly does work out that she's pretty lucky to have her slightly odd mum, but only once something pretty terrifying happens. I don't want to give anything away (I think it's better when stories are surprising), so I'll leave it at that. Even though Pim features in the title (and Pim, with his interesting trivia and perspective of the world, is a great character), he doesn't heavily feature in the book. It's a story about friendship, but most of all it's about Molly learning to appreciate her mum and their strange life. (The fact that her father and twin brothers had mysteriously vanished in Cuba was such an odd but intriguing detail, and one that makes me hope there'll be another book about Molly, in which she finds them!)
There are so many sweet characters (apart from the incredibly horrendous neighbours, Ernest and Prudence Grimshaw), but I especially love Molly's mum, and Ellen (I would be friends with Ellen. She is so nice and sensible). The lovely little illustrations and glossary of herbs and such at the end of the book are a beautiful touch. I really quite enjoyed it, and I would've absolutely adored it when I was ten.
(How splendid is the cover? It's got lovely sparkly bits, in real life - have a look at Cait's review at Paper Fury for some lovely photos of it. Am I overusing the word lovely? That's what this book is. The Bookish Manicurist's painted a gorgeous manicure to match it. And now I'm linking to other reviews, I can't really stop myself: I love this review from a 9-year-old reader, as well as Danielle's thoughts at Alpha Reader on this book and middle-grade fiction in Aus.)
Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars on the publisher's website
Labels: book reviews