Saturday, 21 January 2012

REVIEW (and some friendly thoughts): Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not a huge fan of 'January'. Christmas, or EATING DAY, is over and everyone is talking about not eating instead. To me diets do not sound fun (apparently they don't allow cheese binges and eating my emergency mid-morning Twiglets at 9:10 is not acceptable). I also am too lazy to try running from one place to another so I just sit around vaguely thinking I should do something and counting down the days till I am taken to the Fat Home. 

It's also cold. And rainy. This week I walked to work in the rain and arrived looking like I'd simultaneously fallen into a puddle, wet myself and started crying. I sat at my desk shivering and wondering if anyone would notice if I dried myself on the tea towel...

I severely needed a bit of heart warming. So this was a great week to read Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith. This is a book about friendship that warms you from your heart to your feet and makes 'January' feel like a day at the beach. The Opal Moonbaby Blog Tour: About Zooming Time is well underway and has already stopped at many zooming amazing blogs, such as Chicklish, Girls Heart Books and Book Angel Booktopia.

Opal Moonbaby
Maudie Smith
Orion Children's Books
5 Jan 2012
Love Reading for Kids link

Martha doesn't want a best friend. After what happened with Chloe and Collette and The Secret Circle, she knows that friends just bring trouble and make you sad. She's better off on her own. But then, with the summer holidays stretching ahead of them, Martha and her little brother Robbie meet Opal Moonbaby. With her crazy hair, long spindly legs and purple eyes, Opal looks a bit weird. She also speaks a bit weird and just generally is a bit weird. And she has a pet mingle (a small furry creature with wings) called Garnet. This weirdness could, in part, be down to the fact that she is an alien from a planet called Carnelia and is on a mission to Earth to find about friendship. Martha and Robbie spend the holidays trying to initiate Opal into the mysteries of Earth-life, such as shopping in a supermarket, with hilarious consequences. But while Martha is happy to help Opal, she does not want to be her friend. Because friends just bring trouble, don't they?

This is a warm and funny tale of friendship - but with moments of real sadness as you realise just how upsetting 'being left out' can be. Although she would never admit it to anyone, Martha is devastated at her best friend Chloe going off with new girl Collette and suddenly deciding that all the games they used to play are babyish. 

The way she shuts herself off from Opal, unlike her more carefree little brother who declares himself Opal's friend from the beginning, makes you really feel for Martha. But Opal is impossible not to like. She is excited by everything she sees and goes around merrily causing chaos. Trips to the end of the road and the supermarket become adventures and readers will enjoy her encounters with all the familiar things, like carrots and 'paying for things', that Opal finds baffling.

My favourite thing about Opal is the way she speaks. In preparation for Earth she has had a dictionary programmed into her brain. This means she can speak English but she gets all the of the sayings and figures of speech wrong - 'like taking brandy from a baby ' being my favourite. Readers will love Opal's mistakes, and Martha wearily correcting her, and they might start to think they prefer Opal's take on language.

Feeling in a happy, fuzzy, friendshippy mood after reading this book, I thought I'd pick some of my best book friends. Admittedly all these people are best friends with each other, not with me, but I think if I lurk around them long enough they will grow to tolerate me:


1. Georgia and Jas from the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison

Without Georgia and her hairy little pally there would be no Ace Gang. They are the ultimate in best pallyness (even if for Georgia it is more like having a dog than a friend). 

2. The boy and the penguin in Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Oh god. Don't get me started on these two. I'll be snivelling and dribbling all over the place! 

Actually I am not sure why I'd be dribbling.

3. Greg and Rowley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It may be true that these two became best friends only because Greg's best friend Ben moved away and because Rowley's mum got him a book called 'How to Make Friends in New Places'. And it may be true that for Greg, like Georgia, it is more like having a dog/Ralph Wiggum for a friend. But Greg and Rowley will be friends forever. They have to be really, if the cheese secret is going to stay a secret...

4. Frodo and Sam from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

I LOVE Sam. I think I should be allowed to be Rosie Cotton because a) I am very short and b) I LOVE Sam. But I would never be able to compete with the bromance of Sam and Frodo. Also, I might not be too happy at popping out thirteen children (even small hobbitty children). And I would definitely not call one of my children 'Hamfast'. 

5. Jamie and Sunya from My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Or should I say Spiderman and Girl, M. This is a beautiful friendship and a lovely book that had me raving like a loon last year. Here is my review

Do comment away with any BFFs I've missed out! And do tune back in on Monday 23rd when Maudie Smith will be visiting on the OPAL MOONBABY blog tour. 

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