Monday, 29 August 2011

Book Review: The Magnificent Mummy Maker by Elvira Woodruff

Book:  The Magnificent Mummy Maker by Elvira Woodruff, audiobook read by Lloyd James, Scholastic Paperbacks, 1995, 144 pages, middle school fiction.

Source:  Library.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Has a mummy’s spirit really moved into Andy’s body?!

What do you do when it seems like everyone in your family has done something magnificent—everyone, that is, except you? That’s Andy’s problem. He just wants to do something special.

When his class visits an Egyptian exhibit, he figures it’ll be just another field trip. But he’s wrong, because somehow a mummy’s spirit seems to have given him a weird magic power. Suddenly, Andy’s magnificent—all he has to do is wish for whatever he wants! But being extraordinary has its drawbacks. And Andy soon learns to be very, very careful of what he wishes for….

My Thoughts: 
I recently took a road trip with my kids and we listened to this audio book on the way.  It was great - one of the quietest trips we had ever done.  Every time a disc finished, the kids begged for the next one as they were so engrossed in the story.

The story is cute, it is about a ten year old boy named Andy, whose mother died when he was a baby and whose father has remarried.  His new step mother comes with a new step brother, also a ten year old boy, but one who is good at doing everything he sets his mind to, unlike Andy.  Andy is average, not gifted like his step brother, Jason.  He feels left out and lonely and he misses his mom.

Woodruff does a good job here, exploring the feelings that kids of blended families would feel, all of the mixed up emotions, resentments and assumptions.  I can really imagine the kids feeling and acting the way that she presents and this would probably be comforting for kids who are in similar situations - or who feel sibling rivalry even without the blended family part.

There is also a great fantasy element to the book, with Andy channeling the spirit of the mummy.  This part is a bit spooky and mysterious and adds a fun tension to the book.  I love the imagination the author uses here and how it is used to ultimately resolve the story.

I can see middle grade kids really enjoying this book, especially if they have an interest in mythology.

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