Liz Carlin and Elena Mackay review a new book by Cathy Beer
[New City Magazine – December 2020, on page 19]
In September, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of Cathy Beer’s The Giant Christmas Pudding Calamity and Other Stirring Stories of Miss Plumket and Mrs Medlicott just before a visit from my grandchildren.
Although Adelaide, aged 9, and Patrick, aged 6, are both good readers – happily they still like being read to so – in an attempt to bring some calm before bedtime, I read to them from the book.
And so we embarked on the first eponymously entitled story, ‘The Giant Christmas Pudding Calamity’ and they loved it. They were amused and enthralled and a little bit worried and when I finished they insisted that I read ‘The Snow Lady’ followed by ‘The Crocodile at the Dentist’ which turned out to be the favourite, particularly as it involved ginger biscuits! (They had some too).
The book really appeals to young children. Beautifully written with a witty use of language, just the right amount of anxiety and a pleasingly moral conclusion – they love all that stuff! And they like the pictures too.
A very good stocking filler!
Elena Mackay, age 10 (nearly 11):
This book follows the adventures of Miss Plumket and Mrs Medlicott as they navigate their way through life in Little Snoring, getting into numerous scrapes and tangles along the way. Curing a crocodile’s toothache with a ginger biscuit, dog-sitting a friend’s crazy pooch for the day and attending the Queen’s birthday party.
The writing makes me feel like I’m in Little Snoring watching all of the hilarious things happening between the two characters and other villagers. This book was so funny and there are many mad misunderstandings. Mrs Medlicott is oblivious to everything around her, and that is why she’s my favourite character. One of my absolute favourite moments was when Mrs Medlicott finds train tickets to the seaside in her cereal box, but when she gets to the train station she finds she has made a dreadful mistake!
My number one story was Miss Plumket’s invitation to the Queen’s 90th birthday tea party. When you can’t decide on a pair of shoes, why not pick one of each pair?!
With hilarious characters, frequent laugh-out-loud scenes, and the biggest Christmas pudding of all time, anyone who likes funny stories and eccentric neighbours will love this book.
[See the article in full PDF edition on page 19]