Tumtum & Nutmeg can’t avoid adventure in The Rose Cottage Tales

November 19, 2010 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Tumtum & Nutmeg: The Rose Cottage Tales by Emily Bearn with pictures by Nick Price; published by Little, Brown & Company, New York; 2010.

NOTE: This review is based on an ARC (advance reading copy) provided for free by the publisher.  The cover art, below, and the publication information is subject to change.  The book was released in October 2010.

Although they thoroughly enjoy their quiet life in Nutmouse Hall, adventure seems to find Tumtum and Nutmeg.  Nutmouse Hall is located in the kitchen of Rose Cottage, home to the inventor Mr. Mildew and his neglected children, Arthur and Lucy.  Tumtum and Nutmeg have taken it upon themselves to look after the children and whenever they help the children, wild adventures are sure to follow.  As the book concludes, the author has included a sampling of Nutmeg’s best recipes (most were mentioned in the stories!).

The advance reader copy (ARC) that I received only had two of the three tales included.  When I read “A Christmas Adventure” and “A Seaside Surprise, ” I was reminded of old-fashioned tales of derring-do, of ordinary people becoming brave heroes.  Nick Price’s charmingly detailed illustrations, all bordered by a rustic twig and acorn frame, add dimension to the stories and reinforce the old-fashioned slant to the tales.  That being said, I don’t fully agree with the recommended reading ages for this book.  The publisher suggests that children ages 8-12 will enjoy reading this.  I disagree because it is not a rollicking adventure nor does it feature familiar characters.  These sweet tales, although they feature adventure, are simply too old-fashioned for most upper elementary school aged children to enjoy.  I can see recommending it to second or third graders (although the volume is probably too long for the second graders to read in its entirety).

How would I use this book?  My first thought as I read “A Christmas Adventure” was “Finally!  A great story to recommend to emergent readers after Thanksgiving!”  During my elementary school library tenure, I was always hard pressed to find early chapter books about Christmas to recommend.  This story fills the bill perfectly–a holiday story with a wonderful adventure.  That recommendation aside, I would whole-heartedly recommend this as the perfect bedtime story.  Reading a chapter each night, especially in the days leading up to Christmas, is the perfect way to enjoy this book.  Bearn’s writing style seems intended for this purpose–the words just flow off the tongue.  Perhaps an elementary school librarian or teacher would consider reading a chapter or two aloud to classes as the children become restless before winter break.

In addition, there are multiple Web resources for this book.  My favorite has to be Tumtum and Nutmeg’s blog (http://blog.tumtumandnutmeg.co.uk/).  Visits to the blog reinforce the stories and provide quick daily reads to keep the reading bug fed.  Another great resource is at Egmont’s Tumtum and Nutmeg website (Egmont is the publisher of the British editions of Bearn’s series).  A visit to http://www.tumtumandnutmeg.co.uk/index.htm offers a variety of resources, from more of Nutmeg’s recipes to author information, descriptions of the world of the mouse pair to competitions and fun stuff.

For a sample, visit http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/tumtum/book2-preview.html to read the first chapter of “A Christmas Adventure.”

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Entry filed under: Children's Chapter Book. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

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