Saturday, January 27, 2007

Measle and the Wrathmonk, by Ian Ogilvy

Ian Ogilvy
ISBN: 0-06-058686-9
Book #07-003

Measle Stubbs is an orphan who lives with his guardian, the scarily dreary Basil Tramplebone. Basil's hobby is his train set, which he keeps in the attic and forbids Measle to touch. When Basil catches Measle playing with the trains, he unleashes some very powerful magic on the boy, leaving Measle in horrible straits, indeed. As Measle learns how clever one small (make that one-half of an inch) boy can be, he bands together with Basil's other victims to thwart the Wrathmonk and win back their freedom.

Fans of the Lemony Snicket books will undoubtedly enjoy this rather macabre tale, particularly as it ends on a better note. Basil is a deliciously repellent villain whose diet of donuts and lemonade may put young readers off sweets for a while. Basil's other victims are a well-rounded cast: the capable Kip, high-strung Lady Grant and her precious Manolos, nimble Kitty, Frank the electrician, William the encyclopedia salesman, and the redoubtable Prudence and her dog, Tinker. In their eyes, Measle grows to his full potential, proving himself both intelligent and resourceful. Trapped in an artificial world on a tabletop, the group must avoid Basil during the day, and Cuddlebug, Basil's horrible pet, at night, all the while looking for a way out of their predicament.

Ian Ogilvy has written a charming book that will appeal to young readers of both sexes. Boys will especially enjoy Measle's hygiene issues, and all children will likely appreciate the horrors of trying to escape from giant cockroaches and other creepy things. MEASLE AND THE WRATHMONK is a delight from start to finish, but readers can look forward to the next Measle book, MEASLE AND THE DRAGODON.

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