Thursday, June 17, 2010

Measle and the Wrathmonk

The Train Set of Terror chronicles the adventures of Measle Stubbs. He’s an orphan who has a mean and nasty guardian, Basil Tramplebone, who happens to be a wrathmonk (an evil wizard). Measle hasn’t had a bath in years, cuts his hair with an old kitchen knife, and he’s always very hungry. Poor Measle is also very lonely living in the big, old creepy house which Basil owns, and his only pleasure is going up to the attic to look at Basil’s elaborate train set, which he’s not allowed to touch.
One day when Basil is out, Measle turns on the power and plays with the trains. When Basil finds out, he’s so infuriated that he casts a spell on Measle and shrinks him to the size of one of the small figures on the train set. Now that Measle is only a couple of inches tall, he sees that the other figures aren’t really plastic, they’re actually other people who have also made Basil angry – a noisy neighbour, a travelling encyclopedia salesman, a girl scout selling cookies and others. By accident Basil Tramplebone also changes himself into a cockroach and he chases the little people all over the train tracks. There’s also a bat that lives in the attic rafters who causes quite a bit of mayhem. After many scary, but exciting, adventures, Measle and the others finally escape the train set and become life size again. Along the way Measle proves to himself that he’s actually very smart and courageous he finds out that he’s not an orphan after all. I loved the off-kilter, and at times dark, British humour and the funny black and white illustrations that accompany the story. This book is the first in the Measle Stubbs’ series and book two, The Funfair of Fear is also available now. These books are great for kids eight years old and up, and will appeal to fans of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.

"Stink is what Ogilvy does best.
This is a book that smells superbly foul"
Michael Rose, The Guardian

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