Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls

The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls

Elise Primavera
For ages 8 to 12
HarperCollins, 2008   ISBN: 978-0060569488

For seven long years Ivy Diamond has been dogged by a terrible jinx, a jinx that has made her life miserable. Her father disappeared and everything else fell apart soon after. Now Ivy and her mother have moved to the town of Sherbet. They have inherited a house from Viola, Ivy's mother's aunt, and Ivy is daring to hope that perhaps their luck is about to change.

It isn't long before Ivy gets to know the other girls on Gumm Street. There is Cat who is said to have ESP, Franny, whose minds teems with grand ideas, and Pru, who believes in being very cautious about everything. Cat, Franny, and Pru thoroughly dislike one another and they don't plan on changing this state of affairs until the day when they all discover that Ivy, with her never-ending bad luck, needs help.

It would appear that Ivy comes from a distinguished family. A pair of silver slippers that a neighbor bequeathed to her are none other than the slippers that belonged to a certain wicked witch who had a house dropped on her in the land of Oz. Now a horrible witch by the name of Cha Cha is after those slippers and she will do anything to get her hands on them.

Thanks to Cha Cha, the four girls are transported, not by a tornado, but by a backwards tsunami to a bizarre underworld world where they are kept captive and treated little better than slaves. Somehow they have to get back to Sherbet and they have to get rid of Cha Cha once and for all.

Packed with humor and all kinds of bizarre adventures, this is the kind of tale that will appeal to readers who enjoy a story that is quirky and different. One never knows what is going to happen next, and fans of the Oz books will certainly be interested by the connections that are made between Oz and this story’s setting.