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Book of the month- Bronte takes you on an adventure only you could have imagined

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

A whimsical and magical tale of the plucky and witty Bronte Mettlestone. The ten-year-old who is on a quest to visit all ten aunties to discover the truth about her parents. Were her parents really killed by pirates? A treasure chest of gifts has been left in a vault at the bank, and Bronte is to deliver the gifts to all ten aunties.

She is ten years old.

She is to do this alone.

Oh, and the aunties are scattered around kingdoms and empires whereby she'll encounter dragons, witches and water-sprites among others.

Bronte is taken on a journey she could only have imagined...

We love this book at CBC. Especially given the theme of adventure, that's what reading with us is about, joining our reading adventure! This middle-grade book has all the ingredients to encourage a lifelong love of reading. The gold foil embellishments on the cover makes it feel like a piece of treasure in itself. There is a detailed map on the first pages, illustrations by Karl James Mountford, transporting you to the wonderfully rich and imaginary world where the adventures of Bronte unfold.

Instructions stated in her parents Will, (which annoyingly have been reinforced by faery cross-stitch which means bad things will happen if the tasks are not completed as instructed), Bronte travels from aunt to aunt delivering gifts. Bronte’s journey takes extremely inconvenient twists and turns along the way, such as rescuing a baby from the river, which incidentally saves the entire elven people from living the next thousand years in the greatest of shame. For it was the elves who threw the baby in the water believing it to be a pile of unwanted blankets. To rescuing Aunt Emma from a sentence of fifteen years in prison, by solving the mystery of the missing pepper mill.

The peril which Bronte faces with avalanches, water-sprites and pirates is pitched against such hilarity, wit and charm you barely notice the potential danger Bronte faces.  Besides, it’s all brushed off with such wit and aplomb, the whole adventure will have you giggling from beginning to end.  

The hi-jinks of the aunts, and their adventurous lives is quirky and unique, yet somehow there is a familiarity and sense of homely warmth with all the aunts you meet. Family and friendship are certainly at the heart of this novel, with a very good dose of adventure too. After joining in a conversation with Moriarty on Twitter it feels like no wonder family is a strong theme. Moriarty grew up with six aunts and she has four sisters now who have children. As a child growing up with her aunts, Moriarty was fascinated that you only see glimpses of your aunts, but behind this they have a vivid world lived lurking in the shadows with potentially amazing secrets. Whether Moriarty’s fictitious Aunt Emma- an artist in her red phase- imprisoned for fifteen years for allegedly stealing a pepper mill; or if Aunt Maya and Lisbeth who sail through life on their cruise ship, Riddle and Popcorn, is based on anyone; remains to be confirmed..

Jaclyn Moriarty comes from a very literary family and reminisced that her Dad would commission them to write stories and you got $1.50 of pocket money if you filled in an exercise book, which they still have! Jaclyn Moriarty is a prize-winning author of novels for children, adults and young adults and grew up with four sisters, and a brother, (including authors Liane and Nicola Moriarty).

The character of Bronte is funny, witty, and charmingly unassuming. The witty humour of this character hits you on page one, the plotting, delicious descriptions of food, and heart-warming friendships with the most unlikely set of characters, turn this into a book to treasure. 

If there is ever a book to encourage a ten-year old to read it is this one. It has bags of humour, silly detail and a zany but likeable casts of aunts. It transports you to a magical world, which is rich in detail depicted. Delicious descriptions of food features throughout, smother the reader in a homely hug of hot chocolate and warm banana bread.

This is also a great book for book club questions, which all our fiction subscriptions offer. First published in Australia it has been used by teachers in class and some ideas are reading to your class and then have your class create their own picnic from the foods described in the book. Or it has been used as a springboard for a creative writing lesson to write about eccentric aunts and uncles.

This book is the first in a series and is aimed at 9-11 year olds, published by Guppy Books. Available in paperback or hardback with black and white illustrations, 384 pages. You can click here to find options to buy a copy from your retailer of choice, and it would certainly be featured in our book subscription parcels for any reader looking for reading adventure!


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