Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Muddle Earth

Muddle Earth

Paul Stewart , Chris Riddell
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Macmillan Children's Books, 2011   ISBN: 978-0330538763

Joe is so fed up with his household. There doesn't seem to be a single place where he can have a little peace and quiet. The fact that he has to write an essay and that he cannot think of a single thing to write about only makes matters worse. So Joe decides to take his dog Henry for a walk. It is when Henry disappears under a hedge that Joe's most confusing and highly bizarre adventures begin.

As he pushes his way under the hedge to find Henry Joe and his beloved hound are whisked away to a world where the most peculiar things happen. Joe has been summoned to this world, which is called Muddle Earth, but a wizard whose wizarding skills leave a lot to be desired. In fact the wizard, Randulf the Wise, can only do one spell and he can only do the spell in one direction. Randulf has summoned Joe because he, and the whole of Muddle Earth, needs a warrior hero. Poor Joe knows nothing about how to be a warrior hero, but since Randulf cannot send him back home, Joe throws in his lot with Randulf and his companions, Norbert The Not Very Big Ogre and a very opinionated budgie called Veronica.

Joe soon discovers that Randalf is not only useless when it comes to magic, but he also has very little money. So it is with a with a saucepan on his head that poor Joe sets off to deal with a wayward ogre who is squeezing sheep and making a nuisance of himself. Luckily for the ogre Joe is a bright boy and he soon finds out why the ogre is going around squeezing sheep. The problem then is what is Joe going to do to help the ogre solve his problems.

This laugh out loud tale is packed with ridiculous characters, absurd situations, and wonderful word play. Fans of Tolkein's wonderfully rich stories, will hear turns of phrase that sounds familier and will enjoy this spoof which pokes gentle fun at grand stories of good versus evil. Only in a book created by this talented team will one find a lake which floats, pink stinky hogs, a hen pecked Horned Baron, and ogres that suck their thumbs for comfort.