Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mean Margaret by Jon Agee (Illustrated by), Tor Seidler

This book wasn't anything like I thought it would be.  I was expecting a mean, rotten, totally nasty little girl.  I wasn't expecting woodchucks...

Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 7th, so watch for a copy at your local bookstore then.  It's a fun read!

Margaret is the baby of the family and the only way she gets any attention is to have a fit.  The other siblings don't like her because not only does she demand attention, she eats too much.  They have a perfect solution, they'll take her out in the woods and dump her in a ditch and then play innocent the next day.  To their surprise, it works!

Poor Margaret.  She doesn't know where she is, no one comes when she calls, and she's hot and tired and frustrated.  She cries herself to sleep.

In the meantime Fred, the woodchuck, has been looking for a wife and found one in Phoebe.  He lives in a hole in the ground; Phoebe has been living in a cave with her sister and her children.  She's happy to move in with Fred and they have a good life together.  At least they do until Phoebe finds Margaret...

This story is a real hoot.  They get Marget into the den in the ground and she fills almost the whole thing up.  She's terribly hungry and their first chore is to find her food.  Unfortunately, that turns into a never ending job.  And Margaret keeps growing.  Soon they have to move.  So they go to the cave that Phoebe used to live in and move in with her sister and her family.  That soon proves to be a problem because Margaret likes to throw the kids at the wall, like balls.

As they attempt to care for Margaret and teach her their language, they struggle on with their own lives and find another place to take refuge.  It takes all the animals in the woods to keep her fed and then the snake finds out her family is looking for her.  Poor Phoebe doesn't want to give her up.

The story ends happily enough, but it's not smooth sailing.  The good news is that Margaret learned some things in the animal world and her family has improved while she has been gone.  When life goes back to normal there is big sigh in both worlds...

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