Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell - ADVISABLE

Rossell, Judith Wormwood Mire, 281 pgs. Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster) 2016. $16.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0”f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. (Peril)

11-year-old Stella has left Withering-by-Sea to meet her young cousins at Wormwood Mire, to be educated along with them by their governess.  But Wormwood Mire is an odd place - Wilburforce Montgomery - their great great grandfather built it to house his exotic collection of plants and animals.  Now it’s very run down and mysterious.  With only a governess, gardener and a cook, the children have a lot of time to explore. Stella is still wondering about who she is, and the photograph she found (in book one) shows 2 babies and a mother in front of Wormwood Mire. She is certainly one of them, but where is the other and what happened to their mother.  No one will talk about it. Oh, and there seems to be a monster in the woods - a strange lizard like creature that turns things into stone.  

Nice and spooky - this 19th century story (set in Australia) has all the pieces of a great mystery story - strange old house, mysterious people, scary woods, a monster, a creepy traveling sideshow, and strange and unusual animals.  Stella is independent and resilient, her cousins are clever and inventive and the adults are responsible (except for the bad guys)  Well written and fun, I’m sure there will be a part 3.  

EL, MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian

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