Title: Wanted… Mud Blossomwanted___-mud-blossom
Author: Betsy Byars
Illustrator: Jacqueline Rogers
Pages: 148
Reading Level: 10 & up
Star Rating: Undetermined

From the Blossom Series.

The Story.

Junior has a surprise. It’s a big surprise. It’s a surprise for everybody – his brother Vern, his sister, Maggie, his mother, Vicki, and his grandfather, Pap Blossom. Nobody gets to know what the surprise is until Friday, because that’s when the surprise happens. It’ll be such a surprise!

And a great surprise it is – at least, Junior thinks so. You see, he gets to bring the school hamster, Scooty, home for the weekend. How wonderful! But the grand surprise turns sour when Scooty disappears and Mud Blossom, the family’s Retriever, is the only suspect.

Can Scooty really be dead? And must Mud pay for the hamster with his life?

Discussion.

What to say. What to say! On a story telling level, Wanted… Mud Blossom was fantastic. The story featured quirky, highly individualized characters playing their parts in a hilarious drama. I was grinning and giggling as I read Wanted… Mud Blossom.

Wanted depicted one of the most hilarious scenarios I have ever seen, that of a dog being brought before the family court and being formally tried for the murder of one Scooty, a hamster. There was a judge, jury, and lawyers for the accused and the prosecutor. Witnesses were called in, and the entire scene was very formal indeed. Just priceless!

However, the relationships in Wanted… Mud Blossom aren’t the best. Junior identifies with his grandfather, but fights with his brother and sister. Relationships between children and their parents consist or annoyance and ignorance (Ignorance meaning the act of ignoring, not illiteracy). The children are all up on sarcasm.

Also, Junior’s mother is single (not sure how), and is on the search for a new life partner. References are made to several past boyfriends. We see her behavior affecting her children as Maggie boyfriendizes (wow, I’m on a roll!) Ralphie and alternately adores and abuses him. Maggie and Ralphie discuss kissing a few times and actually kiss a few pages from the end.

Junior mentions a time when he saw his teacher “adjust her brassiere” [pg. 78].

A women thinks that a water stain on the roof is scary.

“It wasn’t a bear or a witch. It was scarier than that. It was a – a shape, a shape with long hairy arms that. It stretched out and fingers – no, talons – that would reach for her if she closed her eyes.” [pg. 51]

Children call a particular woman a witch.

The word ‘magic’ is used several times (never in the context of actual magic).

Two children trespass on another person’s property.

The children tell several non-essential lies.

Conclusion. Not recommended for children, but interesting as a character study.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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