Thursday, June 28, 2012

Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen

Once upon a time, Margaret had two parents. They were wonderful parents who loved her and took great care of her. Then they died, and Margaret lived with different relatives until they all died, too, and there was no one else to look after her. Margaret was sent to the Hopeton Orphanage by the women of the Concerned Ladies Club, but what seemed like a cheerful place upon arrival was, as Margaret quickly found out, a terrible place ruled by a terrible woman named Miss Switch. Miss Switch kept all the money and the good things for herself and divided the children into two groups: the Pets and the dregs. The Pets are her favourites while the dregs...well, it's not good to be a dreg. Margaret spends her days being quiet, so quiet that she's able to hear things that other people can't. That's how she discovers the moths and the moth tree, a discovery that will change her life (and the lives of the other children at the orphanage).

I almost feel like I should put up some sort of disclaimer; the authors are friends of a friend of mine, although we've never met (though that is how I first discovered the book). While the moths are included in the title (and on the cover) my favourite parts of the book focused on Margaret in the orphanage; they read like a cross between Annie and Matilda (with, although probably from only my perspective, a touch of The Cider House Rules). Margaret is a great character. She's a smart girl who has had an extraordinarily difficult life. My heart broke for her and all of the children who are treated so poorly.  This is a fantasy book but a mild one; rather than turning to the common supernatural characters it looks toward nature and connecting with the living creatures around you.  Margaret and the Moth Tree could easily do for moths what Charlotte's Web did for spiders - take some ordinary insect commonly thought to be a bit icky and fill it with the possibility of magic and wonder.

Visit Kari Trogen's website for more info about her and Brit Trogen's website for more info about her.

Margaret and the Moth Tree is published by Kids Can Press.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

1 comment:

  1. I always love Canadian orphan stories. This sounds fascinating- thanks for introducing it!