Curse of the Werewolf Boy, by Chris Priestley, for Timeslip Tuesday

Despite the implications of its title, Curse of the Werewolf Boy, by Chris Priestley, isn't really about a werewolf boy.  It is instead a time travel story set in a miserable boy's boarding school, Maudlin Towers, in the north of England, where two of the young students,  Mildew and Sponge, tumble into a mystery.  At the heart of the mystery is the time travel device invented by a now deceased teacher of physics.  At the periphery are swirling plot threads-- a Roman lady, brought from the past whose now teaching Latin, a bunch of Vikings back in the past with werewolf concerns, the theft of the School Spoon, an irreplaceable heirloom, and the usual discomforts and difficulties of life in an English boarding school with inadequate food and incompetent staff.

Mildew and Sponge aren't, perhaps, the brightest or bravest boys ever, but they have enough instinctual desire to subvert the rules of their blighted existence to stagger their way through time and back to unravel the mystery.  There are no pesky worries about paradoxes and temporal contradictions here; the trusty time machine delivers the boys, sometimes more than once, to the times they are shooting for (once they get the hang of it), and, in a very satisfying way, the time travel is what makes all the plot elements coalesce into a whole in the end.

If you have young readers on hand who like their fiction humorously exaggerated, and not taking itself seriously at all, offer this book! The many fun illustrations will add to their pleasure.  If you find the names Mildew and Sponge off-putting, you will probably not find this a new favorite read for yourself.  It's very diverting, though, for any reader--lots of zigging back and forth through time, with revelations and surprises galore, and lots of witty dialogue.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a perfect book for reluctant middle-grade readers. I happen to like the names Sponge and Mildew. It sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the review.


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