Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Puddle's Wondrous Worry Dolls by Andrea Kaczmarek (Children's, 7 years +, 9/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

July 2016, Dpdotcom Digital Publishing, 

Summary from Dpdotcom Publishing
Jemima – Puddle to her friends – helps out in her Mum’s shop and discovers Worry Dolls, pretty paper dolls in bright cotton pouches.

Puddle has never heard of them, or seen them, but her Mum explains that they are from Guatemala or Central America and they can take your worries and fly away with them. Sometimes they are called Mayan “trouble dolls”.

While they are talking, a box of the dolls spookily falls off the table and Puddle scrabbles around picking them all up – when Puddle gets home she finds that one of those bags had fallen into her pocket. But these dolls are nothing like the shop ones –these are cool funky Worry Dolls in a rainbow pouch. Puddle is puzzled – did her Mum slip them into her pocket? But she gives them a worry to solve just for fun – what happens next puzzles Puddle even more.

Puddle and her best friend Ally have plenty of problems at school – with three bullies who make everyone’s life a misery. Like all bullies they pick on the younger kids who can’t stand up for themselves and their constant name-calling is unkind and cruel, but one day they go too far, so Puddle and Ally decide that it is time to teach them a lesson – together with her wondrous new friends – Puddle and Ally come up with some wonderful, but naughty, ideas.

Not only the school bullies get a taste of their own medicine – other crazy things happen, 
including a miraculous result for Puddle in a Maths test!
Cool and just a bit creepy – those Wondrous Worry Dolls really shake things up!

Nayu's thoughts  
It is a charming tale, no least because of Puddle's name origin! The worry dolls are a bit creepy, which shows the power of the story since I remember getting some when I was a child, thinking how cool they are. I think they are great especially if you aren't religious - these days I share my worries with God). Puddle has a few issues at school which most readers can relate to, and in their own way the worry dolls fix the problems, and cause a bit of extra work for Puddle and her friend Ally. 

The school situation was realistic, the pranks that get played remind me of Malory Towers and The Twins at St Clare's by Enid Blyton, making me smile as the mischief played out. There was one occasion where I thought Puddle had turned a bit mean, but overall she means well and it's a pleasure to watch her story unfold. The only reason this clever story doesn't get full marks is because the ending is a bit sudden, and it could benefit from a bit more editing. There are instructions on how to make your own worry dolls at the end of the book too!

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