Greetings and salutations to you, my beloved associates in the pursuit of all things literary! It’s Mad Martha with you today to provide you with a Lantern review of a fun and feisty new middle grade read featuring magic, mad cousins and monstrously large moons. I give you Night of the Perigee Moon by Juliet Jacka!
Juliet is a Kiwi author. And by Kiwi I mean that she hails from New Zealand, not that she is a cute, endangered, brown flightless bird with particularly advanced claw dexterity and a passion for literacy. Although that would also be cool (and worth reading about). We at the shelf love Kiwi authors. In fact, in a spectacular display of UnAustralianism, we are prepared to admit that we have a sneaking suspicion that New Zealand is an actual utopia, but until we can get Mad Martha stowed away in a suitcase heading for that delightful nation, we can’t confirm this positively. Until then, we will continue quietly instigating the chilli-bin revolution. Join us, won’t you?
But back to the topic at hand! Once you have feasted your eyes on my poetical evaluation of this book, you can find out more about the author, who was brave enough to answer some (slightly self-centred) questions from Bruce AND THEN enter to win one of TWO PRINT copies of the book – woohoo! Since you are no doubt hyperventilating with excitement over all of that information, I will refrain from mentioning that the giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY, lest you pop a valve and have to be rushed to the hospital. If you would like to enter the giveaway, you can click this link here. So let’s get to it.
Night of the Perigee Moon follows young Tilly Angelica in the days leading up to her thirteenth birthday. Turning thirteen is exciting enough, but in Tilly’s family, the thirteenth birthday also marks the time when young Angelicas take ownership of a shiny new magical ability. Poor Tilly is dreading this however, and just wants to be normal kid and have a normal party – not a whole host of crazy, magical cousins, uncles and aunts turning up to celebrate her “changeover”. If that were not enough to worry about, Tilly’s grown-up cousin Prosper (an enchanter) seems to be behaving in a rather sinister fashion. Along with her cheeky younger brother Fergal, twin cousins Ninette and Pippi, and house cat Kit, will Tilly be able to take control of her emerging talent and use it to her advantage? Or will creepy cousin Prosper use the power of the Perigee Moon to change Tilly’s life forever?
thirteen for some
Night of the Perigee Moon felt to me like something Enid Blyton might concoct were she writing today. It has that classic feel of a fun kids’ story full of magic, reasonably innocent adventure and a plot to be foiled close to home. All that’s missing is the ginger beer, but there’s plenty of other food-related mayhem instead! This book is going to be read and re-read by the younger end of the middle grade bracket and would be perfect as a read-aloud for a grade four or five class. The real action with Prosper and the perigee moon takes a little while to get going because the first third of the book is devoted to Tilly as she waits for, discovers, then begins to tentatively use, her talent. When the action starts however, it is a non-stop ride to the end of the book, involving bell-wearing dogs, mad fighting bats and my personal favourite, spectacular home-made millinery.
Fergal, Tilly’s brother, is a joy to read about as his ingenious and hilarious antics turn the tide for Tilly against cousin Prosper, and Tilly’s best friend Olivia is exactly the kind of person you want in your corner when you have some embarrassing secrets to divulge. There is also a scene involving some highly imaginative insults that you’ll want to pop in your back pocket for when the appropriate situation arises! All in all, we on the shelf recommend Night of the Perigee Moon for confident readers (or as a pre-bed read-together) for all those seeking to find the magic in the ordinariness of family life.
If you’d like to win a copy of Night of the Perigee Moon, simply fill in the entry form in the rafflecopter link here. The giveaway is open internationally, so all residents of planet Earth should be fine to enter. Good luck!
Now just who is the mastermind behind this fanciful romp, I hear you ask. Well, allow me to introduce you to Juliet Jacka!
Juliet Jacka was born in Wellington. She spent her university years in Dunedin, and then headed to Canada and the UK.
She’s now back in New Zealand living in one of Wellington’s hilly suburbs in a red house by a railway line with her husband and two young girls.
Juliet has wanted to write for years, in large part inspired by her love of Margaret Mahy’s young adult books. Escaping the call of writing would have been hard, as she comes from a family of bookworms and crossword fanatics.
She started writing junior fiction stories when she was on maternity leave with her first daughter (who was luckily a good sleeper).
Juliet now juggles writing with work and family life. She has a BA in English and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.
To find out more about the brains behind Tilly’s adventures, we forced Juliet to answer some of our inane, burning questions!
What was it about this story that compelled you to tell it, rather than any other ideas you had floating around? And are any of your characters based on anyone in real life? (Creepy cousin Prosper, maybe?!)
I’m a huge fan of books with magic and mystery in them, and got hooked by the idea of creating my very own magical world. It was jolly fun too – I had heaps of fun dreaming up weird and wonderful talents for the Angelicas.
I don’t know any creepy cousin Prospers in real life. Which is good. He’s a proper slime ball!
Did you ever consider a role for some gargoyles in Arial Manor? And do any Angelicas have any talents related to gargoylery?
Interesting idea! I’m sure Fergal would have fun getting up to mischief with a gargoyle or two. His changeover is coming up soon after all … he might just be a contender for an Angelica with a gargoylery-related talent.
What sparked your interest in the perigee moon phenomenon? Do you think there’s any truth to the rumour that people (and creatures) tend to go a bit mad in the presence of a full moon (especially a really BIG one)?
I was busy trying to get my baby to sleep one night when I noticed that the moon was bigger than usual. I did some research – and aha! It was a perigee moon.
From there I started wondering about the things that could happen when the moon is extraordinarily large. Although I was busy juggling work and two small children, I kept sneaking in moments to write about magic, mayhem and talking animals.
I think any excuse to go a little madcap comes in handy, so yes – of course I think there’s truth to the rumour that people (and creatures) tend to go a bit mad in the presence of a full moon. Especially a really, really BIG one …
What were some of your favourite books as a kid?
It’s great this question says“some” instead of “one” (the last favourite book question I had to answer asked me to pick one – mean!). Some of the some include: The Tricksters and The Changeover by Margaret Mahy, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery,The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner and The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien.
Your story is an award winner – congratulations! Do they give you some kind of plaque or trophy for the award? And if so, where do you keep it?
It’s a fancy certificate with my name written on it in curly writing. I’m going to frame it and stick it on the wall.
So there you have it! Thanks to Juliet for putting up with us. I should probably also mention that Night of the Perigee Moon would perfectly fit into category three – a book with a specific time in the title – of the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge. Quite frankly, I wish I’d thought of that while I was reading it and I would have been one up on my challenge books. Never mind. If you’d like to find out about the Challenge, simply click on the attractive button over there.
Now, go and enter the giveaway. Shoo!