Sunday, 20 August 2017

Mold and the Poison Plot by Lorraine Gregory - reviewed by Tamsin Cooke

It’s not often I read something that feels completely original. But as soon as I read the opening lines of Mold and The Poison Plot by Lorraine Gregory, I knew this was something special.

 ‘When I was a wee babe, no bigger an a marrow, Mam put me in the dustbin and left me out fer the binmen.
But the binmen didn’t want me either.’

The language draws you in. The whole book is written from Mold’s perspective, and his voice shines through, his dialect working brilliantly.  It is a great adventure story - full of warmth, humour and pongs in equal measure.

And so to the blurb:
He's got a big heart . . . and a nose to match!
Mold's a bit of a freak. His nose is as big as his body is puny and his mother abandoned him in a bin when he was a mere baby. Who else but the old healer, Aggy, would have taken him in and raised him as her own? But when Aggy is accused of poisoning the King, Mold sets out to clear her name.
In a thrilling race against time to save Aggy from the hangman's noose, Mold faces hideous, deadly monsters like the Yurg and the Purple Narlo Frog. He finds true friendship in
the most unusual - and smelly - of places and must pit his wits and his clever nose against the evil witch Hexaba.

There are so many twists and turns as you try to work out who trust. The characters are incredibly well drawn – villains and goodies alike. They are unique, quirky and utterly believable. Mold is such a likeable hero, with his inner strength, loyalty, and sense of smell!

Most stories appeal to the senses but I’ve not read one that brings smells so much to life before. The reader travels through various pongs, from rich sweet syrup to garlicy breath, from soap and tobacco to the royal sewers.

As well as the superb story telling and writing, there is also a delicious looking map at the front of the book. Plus the cover is fabulous. Each time you look at it, you notice something new and unexpected.

Fast paced and full of mystery, I read this book in one sitting.  Even thought it is aimed at children 9 - 12 years old I think people of all ages will love it.  It shows us the power of friendship, loyalty and kindness, and how we shouldn’t allow where we are born to define us. Mold and the Poison Plot is in absolute treasure!


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