Monday, July 11, 2011

Blast from the Past -- The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls

This is one of those books I read years ago and blogged over at Booktopia. It's one of those books that went under the radar, but every time I hand it to a reader, they come back having loved it.

Poor Ivy. A Jinx has followed her since she broke a mirror almost seven years ago. No matter where she and her mother move, bad luck follows. In fact, getting to Gumm Street is the first good thing that has happened in a long time. Ivy and her mom have inherited Aunt V's old house.

Gumm Street happens to be the very street where Pru, Cat, and Franny live. You would think that 3 girls of the same age who live on the same street would be friends. Well, they used to be. Not any more. After all Pru is all stuck up with her nose perpetually in a book, Cat is a great big show off and queen of the cartwheels, and Franny has so many big ideas that she cannot possibly follow through with any of them!

When Ivy moves to the block, a piano is mysteriously delivered and the elusive Mr. Staccato - piano teacher extraordinaire - shows up to offer some lessons. Ivy's first lesson shows her that there is something else to Mr. Staccato besides piano! His dogs seem to talk, and he has a museum room filled with movie memorabilia from way before her time. The prize of which seems to be ruby slippers.

An adventure soon begins with the girls having to get together and work together to defeat the crazy Aunt Cha-Cha and her creepy nieces Bling-Bling and Coco. The girls travel to Spoz, then Spudz and each of them works to find their "unique talent" that Mr. Staccato has told them they possess.

I am not sure how to really describe the plot. Elise Primavera has written lots of plot! I think that kids who have read The Wizard of Oz series will get more out of this book than kids who have not read it. There is a large amount of magical realism, and necessary suspension of belief is required to get through. I did, however, really enjoy the book. I think that it is written on a couple of levels where older readers will get the wry writing style and younger readers will get an adventure story.

I had fun!

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