A compelling adventure, with laugh out loud humour, Dylan Townsend
July 1, 2022
After a slow start, Queen of Muck by Isaac Thackray turns into an exciting ride. This book is a perfect example of a children’s book at its best. With ballerina brutes, talking foxes, and middle-aged monsters, its story swept me away to another world.
Queen of Muck starts with sisters Lucy and Lily’s grandfather going missing. Then they find a mysterious postcard marked Florez with directions to a bookshop that seems to not open very often. The events after that lead them on a wild adventure, with evil queens, food fights, and a village ruined.
Initially, I thought that this book would be a generic fantasy book, but, as I read on, I found that it was not so. I really enjoyed Queen of Muck, with its twists and turns, and I loved the humour used by Thackray. Lines like “Silence! You vomitous pigs” made me laugh out loud.
As well as the great writing, I really enjoyed the illustrations by Millie Perocheau. They reminded me of Quentin Blake’s illustrations in Roald Dahl books, and gave me a similar feeling. They enhanced the qualities of the book, and Queen of Muck wouldn’t be the same without them.
The characters were described in a realistic and relatable way, and I loved Harriet and her cat, Lucy and Lily, and Bob. Other characters I did not like so much and left me feeling like I wanted a bit more. A bit more background knowledge for the other characters, like Fredrick, would have made them easier to relate to.
This book seemed to be aimed at an audience of 8-11 year olds but as a thirteen year old I still enjoyed it. This book has two strong female leads, which I find lots of books don’t have, and talking animals, which I have been searching for since The Chronicles of Narnia.
All in all, this was a compelling and exciting read, potholed with twists and turns. Queen of Muck is definitely in the genre of fantasy, and it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fantasy book with Narnia-esque qualities.
- Dylan is 13 and lives in Auckland.