Post Number 100!: A Double Read It If Review….

Yes, that’s right – 100 posts! How the time has flown….

Well, after Tales of the Nunexpected in post number 99, I bring you read-it-if reviews of two books that turned out to be entirely different to what I anticipated.  The first of these is Moose Baby, by Queen of the Quirky, Meg Rosoff.

I found this one during a random browse, and while I wouldn’t consider myself a real fan of Meg Rosoff, I have read and enjoyed a few of her books.  Moose Baby seemed to promise a similar level of thought-provoking oddity that I had experienced in my previous Rosoff encounters.  I was wrong. Moose Baby broke the pointer on my homemade weird-o-meter.  Let me explain.

moose baby

Moose Baby is the story of a 17 year old girl who gives birth to a moose. Now on reading the blurb, I assumed that either (a) “moose” was a metaphor for something I would discover during reading or (b) the girl did not actually give birth to a moose, but had to look after a young moose in some kind of “Preparing for Motherhood” type school project.

Nope. She actually gives birth to a moose. The book follows the trials and tribulations of a young couple attempting to raise a moose baby in a world designed for humanoid bipeds.

Read it if:

* you’re looking for a cheerful, quick, light read – I finished this one in 40 minutes

* you’re a teenager who thinks it would be so awesome to have a baby right now

* you’ve ever experienced that awkward moment when deciding how to compliment the new parents of an unattractive baby

* you are a parent and you suspect that your sweet, intelligent, genial and well-behaved infant was accidentally swapped at the hospital and that’s how you ended up with this loud, energetic, misbehaving, dirt-magnet for your offspring 

While I personally found this book a bit too left-of-centre for my usual tastes, I think it would appeal greatly to its teenage target audience as it is a funny, engaging and not-at-all-demanding take on the young parent theme.

My second not-quite-what-I-anticipated read this week was Doll Bones, by Holly Black, of Spiderwick Chronicles fame.  I had been looking forward to this one for a loooong time as the blurb seemed to indicate an appropriately atmospheric and promisingly creepy story centred around a spooky haunted doll. Somewhat disappointingly for me, given the level of my anticipation, the blurb was….well, not exactly inaccurate, but emphasised minor parts of the story.

Doll Bones tells the story of middle-schoolers Zach, Alice and Poppy, who enjoy playing an elaborate role-play type game of their own creation after school.  When Zach’s dad throws out the action figures that are an integral part of the game in an attempt to make Zach “grow up”, the friendship between the three is tested. Faced with the disintegration of their game and a new prickliness in their friendship, the three set out on a quest to lay to rest the ghost of a young murdered girl that is trapped in the form of a china doll.  Cue adventure!

doll bones

If that explanation seems a bit disjointed, it reflects the narrative in Doll Bones – while the story itself is engaging and action packed, the horror and paranormal elements championed by the title, blurb and cover actually play a very small role in the story. The meat of it revolves around the relationship between Zach, Poppy and Alice and the challenges they face in maintaining their friendship as they experience the changes of growing up.

Read it if:

* you are certain that the creepy china doll in your mother’s/grandmother’s/aunt’s/neighbour’s cabinet is watching you…

* No, seriously. It just moved. Didn’t you see it move?

* you still like to indulge in certain childish activities…even though by all accounts you are way too old for them

* you’ve ever indulged in quite significant levels of theft to overcome minor problems with the full expectation that the rightful owners of the stolen goods would be perfectly happy for you to be using (and damaging) their stuff

* you are quite happy to pick up a book with the expectation that it will be a spooky ghost-ish story…only to find it is actually a road trip/coming-of-age tale instead

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book – very much in fact, and I think it would be greatly enjoyed by middle readers.  I do feel though that the blurb is significantly misleading – this is by no means a ghost story. My only other problem with the book was the theft mentioned above….


The characters willingly steal and capsize a sailing boat, then abandon it when it runs aground, and make up for this by saying that they’ll phone the marina when they get the chance to let the owners know where it is. As if this will excuse the possible charges of grand theft and wilful damage to property that could be coming their way.  Then they steal some bikes too.   I’m all for the adventure element in kid’s books, but as there was no consequence mentioned in the narrative for what is unquestionably a pretty significant crime, I felt that this was a bit of a stretch.  But maybe that’s because I’m a cranky old curmudgeon who can’t remember what it’s like to be young.

****SPOILER OVER!!****

Thanks to all who’ve joined in at some point over these last 100 posts – let’s hope I’ve got at least another 100 in me somewhere!

Until next time,

















19 thoughts on “Post Number 100!: A Double Read It If Review….

  1. Happy 100! My fave line – “you’re a teenager who thinks it would be so awesome to have a baby right now” – hahahah – a little trial by fire at the local daycare can be arranged….


  2. Awesome, I love coming here for my does of the surreal and whimsical…congratulations on the big one hundred, I shall be around for the next ton also.


    • Well I must say I’m glad that at least one cyber fellow might be listening…It’s always a slightly unsettling feeling wondering if one is simply shouting meaninglessly into a cyber vacuum…


      • Well, after my days of yelling down plug holes, this is definitely a better use of voice. All this reading has wired my brain to be able to cope with the multi tasking internet phenomenon. I’m sure people will get bored of this ‘internet’ in a year or so though.


      • Surely. Start stocking up on stamps now – the retro fad of writing letters is sure to come back into fashion any moment, and when it does, I’ll be ready. For once I’ll be in the hipster crowd! Mwahahahahahaaaa!


  3. I’m listening! Just late to the party I think. Hurray for 100! Way to go! The 100th day of school is a BIG DEAL here. Lots of 100 related activities. This year I wore a necklace of 100 bookmarks. Did you do anything special for your #100? Both of these books sound a little weird to me. Thanks for reviewing them!


    • And we’re glad to have you at the party! I was going to celebrate with the unveiling of my “Fiction in 50” endeavour, but got lazy…Although now I have put pen to paper and just have to cull my piece of fiction by about 200 words, then I’ll be good to go! It’s always good to be politely but fashionably late, I believe.


  4. Thanks for these reviews, especially noting where your expectations were challenged – and love your ”read it if” comments! – funny, yet perfect way of adding elements to help determine whether who I would direct to these books (dropped by from the kid lit blog hop)


    • Yeah, it’s not the creepiest story out there, but the adventure and relationship elements really make up for it, so I hardly had enough time to be disappointed at the minimal ghost story! Thanks for dropping in 🙂


  5. Congratulations on your 100th post! This was one of the most entertaining posts I absolutely adore your “Read it if” comments. Fantastic! Hopping along…
    ~Cool Mom/Christine M.
    Tech Support for Stanely & Katrina


  6. Bruce, I am so glad I read your review of Doll Bones. I am a fan of the Spiderwick chronicles for the fantasy elements but for middle grade I had a problem with the violence involved. End rant about that. I have read a few reviews about Doll Bones. It struck me as just completely odd how so many publishers are moving towards dark middle grade books. I actually shudder at the term Middle Grade Horror. I love spooky as much as the next person, but I would also have a problem with the theft of the boat. It seems to me that some writers have gained such hype that the general factions are excusing inexcusable elements in stories. My other gripe is with the Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman. Although it was well written, it has the most graphic murder scene in the first chapter. I think kids can differentiate at a certain point, but I just shake my head when these kinds of books are touted for children. I must END RANT there or I will start listing all the other books that I cringe at. Thanks for a great insight and for linking in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop


    • Yes, I love the Graveyard Book, but certainly wouldn’t recommend it for primary kids…too many adult themes. I agree – definitely better off with cartoon style creepiness at this age, infused with a bit of comic relief…I was a bit of a sissy as regards horror as a younger stone, so steered well away from anything that would actually give me nightmares, but fun creepiness I found highly entertaining.


  7. Congrats on your 100th post!

    I’m pretty sure that the second book would give my daughter nightmares (she has this thing about dolls) and I’m pretty sure the first one would give ME nightmares. I can’t even wrap my head around that one! lol

    Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop once again!


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