Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle

by Deva Fagan

Dedication: "To my parents, Paul and Cynthia, for their love, inspiration, and steadfast support"

First paragraph: "All I wanted was to charm a single stinking wart onto my face. Yes, onto, not off. A good bog-witch should have at least one. Grandmother had eleven, and a hooked nose to boot. Of course, there were rare witches who could pull off a certain dark and terrible beauty. My mother was one, according to Grandmother. Maybe that's how I got stuck the way I was."

Review: Prunella dreams of being a proper bog-witch but her curses always end up being a complete disaster. Take the time she chased off a mob of angry Uplanders with Alligator spoor and ended up giving them the best crops in years, for example. Things only get worse for Prunella when a thief, Barnaby, winds up in her Grandmother's garden and she can't turn him into a toad. Seeing this as Prunella's last chance, her grandmother kicks her out of the bog until she can prove she belongs. As Barnaby and Prunella set out across the Uplands to prove themselves to different people they're thrown into disaster, curses, and the like. But what they set out to accomplish changes as they learn the truth about the history of the Uplands and the story of Prunella's ancestor, Esmeralda.

This was a book written more for older children than young adults but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was simple but not to the point of boredom. The story was entertaining and it was easy to get attached to the characters as you read more about them.

I especially loved the underlying message of the story, just because something or someone is different doesn't mean it's bad. Several times it was mentioned that what you see is not always what is underneath. I like stories with wholesome uplifting messages like this one, but it's not so obvious that it distracts from the story itself.

This story was full of fantasy and magic and predictable yet surprising turns. It was gripping and once I got into the meat of the story I couldn't put it down for long. The best part was, once I finally got back in the reading groove I was thoroughly entertained despite the age group it was intended for. I think that alone says a lot about the book.

I would definitely suggest this book. And to think, it was found by my friend's 13 month old daughter at the library! Luckily the cover was cute enough that my friend ended up taking it home instead of just putting it back on the shelf.

For a better book Synopsis and more information about the book, click here.

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