Reviews for Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
Living in a bleak orphanage in England, young Molly discovers she has a talent for hypnotism. Her newfound skill leads to fame and fortune in New York City. Though long, this fantasy novel is entertaining and contains humor, larger-than-life characters, and scenes of suspense. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2003 April #2
A how-to manual rescues Molly Moon from her orphanage and its vile inhabitants in an odd mixture of grotesque silliness and moral inspiration. For ten years, Molly has been the lowest of the low. Wicked Miss Adderstone orders her to scrub all the toilets with her toothbrush as punishment for having a bath with more than ten centimeters of water. Mean Hazel Hackersly and Gordon Boils (who eats snot sandwiches) torture her incessantly. Her only friend, Rocky, moved to America. But a book of hypnotism endows Molly with hope. With her huge eyes and droning voice, Molly soon hypnotizes everyone in town. She sets off after Rocky and hypnotizes her way into stardom and a room at the Waldorf. Alas, Molly acquired the book by tricking a wicked professor who will stop at nothing to get the riches hypnotism promises. Molly's solutions to problems are amusing and all evil is redeemed. The salvation of archetypically evil (and archetypically disgusting) villains is dissatisfying in a tale that seems otherwise to be drawing on Roald Dahl and Lemony Snickett. Clumsy, but amusing. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 March # 2
Byng creates a lively symphony of hilarious escapades and madcap chases by adding some unexpected nuances to the time-proven theme of the mistreated orphan. The fun begins in a small British library, where desolate orphan Molly Moon stumbles across a book on hypnotism written by a local doctor. After successfully mesmerizing the spoiled pug dog pet of the orphanage mistress, Miss Adderstone, Molly sets out to change the course of her life-which has become even bleaker since her best friend Rocky departed for America with his new adoptive parents. First, Molly overpowers her enemies, the horrid Miss Adderstone, the equally nasty cook and assorted other bullies. Next, she wins an amateur contest by convincing the entire audience that she is the most talented child in Hardwick village; she uses the prize money to cross the Atlantic, in search of Rocky and further fame and fortune. Despite her "useless" tap dancing feet, Molly quickly rises to stardom as a Broadway actress, but evil Professor Nockman ("I'm no professor, well... a Professor of Crime, perhaps," says he) is watching her every move, anxious to snatch Molly's precious book and take control of her power. In the tradition of a Roald Dahl novel, this bigger-than-life tale offers delightfully dastardly villains, a sympathetic heroine who lives out every child's dream and plenty of fast-paced action. Both humor and moral lessons are played at a loud volume, reminding readers in a light-hearted way that instant success can be a burden as well as a blessing. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 June
Gr 4-6-Orphan Molly Moon is unloved and unlovely. The other children pick on her, as do the mean-spirited women who run Hardwick House Orphanage. Molly occasionally escapes to the Briersville library to avoid them all. One day she finds a mysterious tome on hypnotism hidden in the stacks and discovers her real talent. With her newfound skill, she is able to change her luck and her life, getting out of the orphanage to win the local talent competition, and ending up in New York City, where she hypnotizes the entire city into making her a child star. However, evil Professor Nockman will stop at nothing to get the book. A flashy, holographic cover will attract readers. Most of the characters within begin as caricatures, either very good or (more often) very, very bad. Their outlandish adventures are reminiscent of those of the Baudelaire siblings in Lemony Snicket's popular "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books (HarperCollins) with some big differences. Molly Moon's story doesn't match their clever and elegant way with words, but it does have something they lack-a satisfying and very moral ending. There is no cliff-hanger here, as Molly atones for the conniving and devious use of her skills, goes back to the orphanage to make amends, and even uses her talents to turn the worst of the bad guys into good guys. Recommend this lengthy novel to fans of Lemony Snicket's books and similar adventures.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.