Murray, Martine Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars, 181 pgs. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. $16.99. Language: G (0 "swears"); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.
Molly is embarrassed that her mother is nothing like normal mothers; she wears crazy clothes, spends her time gathering herbs and flowers, and regularly creates a variety of potions from her findings. Molly tries to keep her mother's eccentricities from the kids at school, but one day her mom accidentally turns herself into a tree and Molly needs help. She ends up confiding in a boy who is a little odd himself--Pim--and finds a friend she did not expect. As she seeks a solution to bring her mother back, Molly realizes the need to be true to herself and comes to understand that being normal is not for everyone!
I really enjoyed this fun and magical story for upper elementary and middle readers. The magic implicit in the story is great in that it seems to come from a realistic place; the book reads more as realistic fiction rather than fantasy. It has a simple coming-of-age story and a great message about being original and true to yourself. The PG violence rating is due to a conflict that occurs between the kids and some grumpy neighbors and a short physical fight actually ensues. The back of the book includes Molly's own herb notebook with explanations about some of her favorite herbs and flowers.
EL, MS--ADVISABLE. Reviewer: TC