Queen of Muck

Lucy and Lily’s Granddad is missing and they’re desperate to find him.

But first they must survive a great and unusual adventure filled with brutes in nail-polish, a strange bookshop, a children-eating beast, a huge rock and secret tunnel, a very bad orchestra, rotten tricks, flying chunks of cupcake, a talking fox, vomiting, swords, sneak-walking and someone who really isn’t very nice.

*The book is pitched at children seven to eleven and Granddads who buy them books (or Grandmothers who buy them but let Granddad say he did).

Written by Isaac Thackray and illustrated by Millie Perocheau

In stock

Description

Review

The Source (AU/NZ) ~

‘What a splendid day for an adventure.’
This young novel begins (and ends) with a missing grandfather. Lucy (9) and Lily (6) are baffled when their inventor grandfather disappears, leaving them alone in the world. Their only clue is a postcard from the village of Florez and the name of The Hardly Ever Open Bookshop. After the two sisters find the bookshop, the proprietor admits to knowing about Florez.

‘It’s magical, mystical and exists in a completely different time from now.’
She suspects their grandfather has gone there and that the girls will be going there as well.

‘Just make sure you get the right village,’ she warns.

The postcard provides an unexpected way for the two girls to reach their destination. They are helped by Frederick, a talking fox. With Frederick guiding them, they soon reach his home in Florez, a charming and ‘perfectly normal’ village where bicycles float and sunflowers talk. Frederick deduces that Granddad’s disappearance must be linked to the nearby village of Muck and its ‘mean and selfish’ usurping ruler, Queen Diedre. The hospitable Frederick offers to use a ‘secret map’ to lead the girls along ‘the secret route through the secret tunnel’. Various obstacles are encountered as they pass through Trevor Forest, including Horrible Bob, a hostile band of Diedre’s bodyguard Henches and a huge falling rock, but none of these perils deter the plucky girls. Meanwhile the eponymous Queen Diedre is preparing to celebrate her fifth year since hi-jacking the throne of Muck by taking over Florez and destroying its niceness. (Diedre is so repelled by nice things that they make her vomit. The puking triggered by a nice afternoon tea sounds like a walrus that has swallowed a trombone and takes six lines of bold type to replicate.)

Will the girls find their Grandad? Will Diedre capture them? Will the people of Muck rise up? Will there be a show-down?

Isaac Thackray has written this story as an amusing page-turner for young readers and it delivers the goods. What young reader can resist a book with a sneak-walking giant cupcake in it?

The dialogue in Queen of Muck is often very amusing, not least when the girls meet the fox.
‘You’re a talking fox,’ exclaimed Lily.
‘Am I? Well, fancy that,’ said the fox.
‘And you’re standing on two legs,’ Lily added.
‘You forgot to mention this very smart dinner jacket I’m wearing, too,’ he grinned.

The story is also good at showing how people can resist bad behaviour and there are many examples of characters rising again after setbacks. The Henches, who are in touch with their inner ballet dancers, are witty examples of the way that stereotypes get turned upside down. Then there’s her royal horribleness, Queen Diedre, whose wicked ways keep the plot rolling along. The denouement, when she has to face what she has become, is both moving and witty. Never has niceness been portrayed so heroically as in the final pages.

The line illustrations are by Millie Perocheau, who based them on drawings by Isaac Thackray’s own daughters Alice and Lila. As a result the cute, naïve and funny drawings are a perfect match for this cute, naïve and funny tale.

Kiwi author Isaac Thackray Isaac Thackray author

Find out more about Isaac on his author page.

Additional information

Dimensions 19.5 × 13.4 cm
Format

Paperback edition

ISBN

9780473576028

Page count

168

Published by

Little Love, an imprint of Mary Egan Publishing

1 review for Queen of Muck

  1. Kate Gordon

    From WhatBookNext.com
    Lily and Lucy live with their Grandad. At only six and nine and three quarters old, they are very worried when they discover their fun, loving, clever inventor Grandad, missing! They search high and low. He’s not in the house. He’s not in the garden, and he’s not even in his inventing shed. It has been a week, and they are not only worried about Grandad, but the fact they can’t tell anyone he’s missing in case they get taken back to the orphanage he found them in.

    When a postcard in his inventions shed behaves a little strangely, they decide it’s a clue. They follow the information on it and discover themselves in a completely different world. Is Grandad here? Being very brave girls, they set off to look for him. The first thing they need to find is the village of Florez they saw on the front of the postcard.

    What they do find is a surprising creature. A fox called Frederick who not only stands on two legs and is dressed rather dapperly, but he talks as well. This is only the first of the astounding but wonderful charms of the land they have found themselves in.

    It’s not all happiness in joy however. Frederick tells them of a village nearby, once called Celestia but now ruled by a terrible tyrant who calls herself Queen Muck. Celestia became the village of Muck – a very sad, grey, grim place indeed.

    Meanwhile… Queen Muck is planning something. Everything Frederick said about her is true, but times ten. She hates any happiness unless it’s hers. Anything nice, bright, lovely, beautiful or happy makes her want to puke. The village people and her palace staff only do what she demands as they are threatened constantly with being thrown in the tower cells.

    Lily and Lucy won’t be put off by stories of Queen Muck, and their courage inspires others to stand up for themselves. Is Queen Muck finally going to meet her match? Can they keep their cool in dark underground tunnels, faced with gruesome giants and in front of the evil Queen herself? And where on Earth is Grandad?

    Mix together a cup of Narnia, a large spoonful each of The BFG and Fantastic Mr Fox and then stir in some Bad Jelly the Witch, and you’re coming close to this wonderful adventure – Queen of Muck.

    Narrated in a storyteller format, Queen of Muck is exciting, funny, with a truly nasty villain and a group of brave heroes willing to do anything to rescue their loved one. It’s not all straight forward good vs evil, though. Some characters have to dig deep to find their courage, whether to face Queen Muck for the first time or to stand up against her and risk her threats of the tower.

    Illustrations are scattered through the pages and some sounds are emphasized by bold fonts or capital texts.

    A thoroughly readable, enjoyable, and fantastical adventure. I can just imagine Spike Milligan reading this aloud, putting on all the voices of the characters. Loved it.

Add a review

Find other great Kiwi kids books!