Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published May 29th 2015)
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Have you ever picked your nose? Have you ever picked your nose and EATEN IT? Have you ever picked your nose, eaten it, and, by doing so, opened a portal to a world run by PIRATES?
Mabel Jones has.
Kidnapped, Mabel is forced to serve aboard The Feroshus Maggot with the strangest crew you’ll ever meet. And the captain—an odious wolf named Idryss Ebenezer Split—won’t let her go until she helps the pirates uncover the treasure they seek.
Mabel’s voyage takes her across the Greasy Pole of Certain Death, into the belly of a whale, and underground to a decrepit crypt. And she does it all…in pajamas!
Read on if you dare. You are promised a most unlikely adventure.
Debut author Will Mabbitt introduces us to the spunky, lovable Mabel Jones, who inadvertently opens up a portal to another world, when she picks her nose... and eats it. After being kidnapped to serve abroad The Feroshus Maggot - a boat where no one quite knows how to spell "ferocious", properly! - Mabel is swept in on a mad adventure to get all of the pieces of a treasure, reunite brothers and so much more!
There are books where you can just tell the author had a complete and utter blast writing the book, and The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones is a perfect example. Will Mabbitt sprinkles every page liberally with delightfully-written moments ranging from the bemusing reason for why Mabel first attracts the attention of the pirate crew, to her hunt for treasure pieces that will help get her back home.
Mabbitt's cheerful sentences and hilarious world-building is only accentuated by his stylistic choices; between his penchant for utilizing different font to really emphasize a point! (Seriously - you'll get it when you read the book); and his narrative decision to break the fourth wall, readers will feel like they have a front row seat to Mabel's adventure, much like books like the Lemony Snicket series, or Hook's Revenge. Illustrator Ross Collin's awesome line drawings also emphasize the genuine zainess of the tale, and give a spark to the colorful characters that Mabel encounters.
Though I loved every bit of Mabel Jones, what I appreciated the most was the fact that Mabel repeatedly and assuredly holds her own against all of the adults and the animals that she comes across. At a time when we're looking for young heroines, the fact that Mabel never wavers in her bravery and craftiness, and also shows a genuine bemused appreciation for her circumstances, is just the type of healthy attitude that I think any young reader will appreciate.
Bottom line: Will Mabbit has a delightful hit on his hands. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a rip-roaring adventure, and an admirable heroine, to boot.
Check out the trailer!