Malamander, by Thomas Taylor

Malamander, by Thomas Taylor (Walker Books/Candlewick), just came ashore Tuesday in the US, after winning many fans on the other side of the pond in the UK.

Herbie Lemon, is, to the best of his knowledge, an orphan, taken in by Mrs, Kraken, the proprietor of the Grand Nautilus hotel in the town of Eerie-on-Sea, and installed as the keeper of its Lost and Found office.  In summer, the town is Cheerie-on-Sea, full of happy seaside visitors, but in winter the visitors leave, and the c and h loose their luster as the snow falls...and the residents murmur of the Malamander, the legendary monster who haunts the cold grey ocean...

It's one such winter when a girl named Violet shows up lost at the hotel, and Herbie takes her in.  Violet too is an orphan (also to the best of her belief); her parents vanished on the town's beach long ago and were never seen again.  She's come back to Eerie-on-Sea to try to solve this mystery, and finds her parents story is entangled with the legends of the Malamander.

And before Herbie is really sure what's happening, he and Violet are caught up in a struggle to find and claim the Malamender's (possibly) magical egg, before the Malamender is hunted down and its egg captured by a sinister enemy.

If you enjoy middle-grade seaside gothic, with a town that's slightly askew and a whole bunch of eccentric inhabitants, orphan children being plucky and loyal comrades, following clues, and facing down sinister adults, and sea monster stories, you'll love this one!  If you enjoy cheering for hunted monsters, you'll love it even more!  It's fast paced and fun, a little silly at times, more than a little scary and suspenseful at others, and would almost certainly make an excellent read-aloud!

(personal note--for the past several weeks, my brain, delighted to have discovered that "malamander" and "salamander" rhyme, has been repeating ad nauseum a little Malamander song it came up with and I hope that now I've written this I can find peace again....my family hopes so too.)

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.

NB:  Malamander is one of many fine books that will be eligible for the Cybils Awards in the Elementary/Middle Grade category!  If you think that spending lots of time reading and discussing such books with really smart, nice people sounds fun, apply to be a Cybils panelist; the deadline is this Friday, the 13th....I'd love to welcome more new folks to the EMG SF fun, so please don't be shy!

1 comment:

  1. This was a young Scottish friend's bedtime story this past month, and I heard that it's REALLY good.


Free Blog Counter

Button styles