Monday, August 25, 2014

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson by Nikki Bennett - A Review

Title: From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson
Author: Nikki Bennett 
Publication Date: June 26, 2014
Publisher: Firedrake Books, LLC
Pages: 116
Recommended Ages: 7 to 12

When I received From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson by Nikki Bennett, I figured I would read a couple chapters on my own before sharing it with my daughter to make sure the story was appropriate for her; however, I quickly found myself sucked into the story and finished it in a day. Tonight, I started rereading this book with  my oldest daughter, Miss M, who is seven. She is already hooked.

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson is the story of four kids who have just moved into a large haunted house with their Aunt after losing their parents in a car crash. Mindy Munson hasn't spoken since she was in the car with her twin brother on That Day. However, that doesn't stop her from sharing with her siblings all the magical creatures that lurk on the expansive grounds of the house, including "Da Fing" that lives in the basement. Communicating only with her twin brother, she lets them know each time a new creature has arrived, warning her brothers and sister if the creature is good or bad. At first, her creatures seem unbelievable; however, things keep happening around the house to confirm the existence of creatures like the Mulberry Dragon and the Goony bird. The reader is left wondering if she does indeed have a sixth sense or if her imagination is just some childlike coping mechanism.

Death is a difficult subject to broach for most anyone at any age; however Nikki Bennett masterfully imagines a world in which four siblings can cope with the loss of their parents on their own terms. I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much is because the mixture of unapologetic and real characters with completely magical ones felt very much like a Roald Dahl book. I found myself torn between my adult desire to negate the magical creatures as nonsense and my inner child hoping that they were indeed not just figments of Mindy's imagination. This book will make a great read aloud to share with my daughters, and it will provide an opportunity to discuss what it must feel like to experience loss.

Right now, my youngest daughter recites the mantra, "No Monsters, No Alligators," each night before bed and whenever we go somewhere new. My oldest teases her for believing that there really are alligators in strange new places, and I think this book perfectly suits kids with wild imaginations. For Mindy, Da Fing was real and something to be feared, just as for my daughter alligators poses a real threat. I hope this is something that my oldest picks up on as we read the book.

I found From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson to feel refreshingly inventive in a time when many books we read feel like slightly changed versions of books that have already been read. I hope you take the time to check out the magical mind in Mindy Munson. I am sure glad that I did.

* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

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