Middle Grade Monday – Diary of a Mad Brownie (giveaway)
Angus is a brownie (mythical creature, not chocolate dessert treat) living under a curse. Due to some mischief his father caused, the brownies of Angus’ line are bound to serve the McGonagalls, and to bring a curse upon the males of the household in which they live. So far, this has worked out well for Angus. He (as all brownies do) needs to serve someone, making sure their dwelling is both tidy and clean as well as performing minor mischief to keep his family on their toes. For many years Angus has lived with and served Sarah McGonagall, who conveniently lived alone and therefore Angus has not visited the second half of the curse on anyone in many years. Alas, humans do not live nearly as long as brownies, and at her death Angus’ services are transferred to the youngest female in the McGonagall line who is of age, who happens to be the American tween Alex Carhart. Not only is Alex unfamiliar with the concept of brownies, she doesn’t want any help cleaning her disastrously messy room (or her desk at school.)
Much of the humor and heart of the story comes from the conflict of personalities and the clash of cultures experienced by Angus and Alex. Both of them could use some anger management skills, but they manage to work through their differences and come to genuinely value each other. The reader watches Alex grow in her appreciation of Angus’ talents as their friendship blossoms. Unfortunately, Angus has also brought the other part of the curse to Alex’s household. Because he has been so long serving in a household without any males, he is hopeful that this part of the curse has died out. Unfortunately that is not the case, and both Alex’s father and brother are seized by the undeniable urge to create poetry (or write songs, in her father’s case.) Not just any poetry, but appallingly, laughably bad poetry. In order to break the curse, Alex and Angus must work together to return what was lost to the queen of the fairies. The many threads of the story weave together into a solution to this problem at just the right moment.
I have long been a fan of Bruce Coville’s writing. While humorous and engaging, his work also has a genuine and caring heart to it. This book more than lived up to my expectations. The fact that it is written in varying formats (diary entries, memos, letters, etc.) adds greatly to its charm. It is a good addition to any collection serving 8 to 11 year old readers, and would even be a good read aloud for a younger audience.
I have one hardcover copy of this title (provided by the publisher) to give away (within the US.) Please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
Filed under: Middle Grade Monday
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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