Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie

The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie

Bruce Coville
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Evan Morton, Nancy O’Connor and a full cast
Listening Library , 2015   ISBN: 978-0553552270

Angus is a brownie who, like his father before him, is tied to the McGonagall family by a curse. Angus must serve the youngest living McGonagall female and unfortunately Sarah McGonagall, whom Angus has served and cared for for many years, is not long for this world. Sarah tells Angus that he is going to have to serve Alex Carhart next, her nearest young female relative, and since Alex lives in America, Angus is going to have to leave Scotland and make the long journey across the ocean.

Angus is not best pleased by this news but there is nothing that he can do about it. Go to America he must, and he has to do so as quickly as possible as well. Angus decides to keep a diary so that he might find an outlet for his “frets.” Angus is prone to having temper tantrums and perhaps writing things down will help with this vice of his. Or perhaps it will just serve as a means of storing the memories of his adventures.

After a long journey, via the Enchanted Realm, to America, Angus finally reaches his destination, which is when he finds out that Alex is an incredibly messy person. Her parents and siblings are not exactly what you would call tidy, but Alex takes messiness to a whole new level, one that leaves the poor brownie feeling quite overwhelmed. However, Angus is not a quitter and so he does his best to bring some order into Alex’s life and in so doing he is discovered by his new mistress.

Alex and Angus manage to come to an understanding, albeit a rather uneasy one at times. Then Alex’s father and elder brother start to behave very strangely indeed. Her brother starts spouting very bad poetry, and her father quits his job and announces that he is going to become a full time musician. His music making is quite good but when he insists on writing his own lyrics it becomes clear that writing lyrics is not his forte. At all.

Alex, her mother and her little sister are rather mystified by this strange behavior, but Angus knows all too well what is going on. The second part of the curse that was placed on his family all those years ago is coming to pass, and if he and Alex don’t figure out how to break the curse then Alex’s life could take a very definite turn for the worse.

Told using diary entries, text messages, and other “supporting documents,” this wonderful tale will delight listeners who like brownies, curses, and magic. Angus’ voice is funny and wonderfully honest, and listeners will surely feel sorry for the brownie who, through no fault of his own, is lumbered with no less than two curses. He and his new friends are going to have to use their wits to solve this very old, and very delicate, conundrum.