Malamander: Book Review | Young Readers Write

We invited young readers to share their thoughts on the books they liked the most from the NLF Reading Challenge 2022 list. Here is what an avid reader from Grade 4 had to say about Thomas Taylor’s middle-grade novel Malamander

Aadya Singh from Neev Academy, Bengaluru writes: 

Malamander is the story of a Lost-and-Founder at a hotel in a seaside town called Cheerie-on-Sea. But in the winter everything changes. The C and H gets blown off and Cheerie-on-Sea becomes Eerie-on-Sea. One winter, a girl called Violet comes to meet Herbie, the Lost-and-Founder of The Grand Nautilus Hotel. She asks for his help to find her parents, but one clue leads to another and they go on an adventure that includes finding the missing pages of a book and keeping a magical egg away from a man called Eels.” 

I really liked the book because it is full of adventure and the author, Thomas Taylor, has written it in a very suspenseful way that makes everything feel real.

The first book in a five-part series, Malamander instantly struck a chord with many readers. What stands out about the book is the array of amusing characters. Thomas Taylor had to field several questions about how he created his characters during an author session we held with him! 

A captivating character in the book is a mechanical mermonkey at the Eerie Book Dispensary that prescribes books for customers, not always the books that they are expecting, or the books that they want, but possibly the books that they need. This piqued the curiosity of Archana Misra— a student of Grade 3 from Pep School V2, Bengaluru—who asked Thomas, “Why did you make the mechanical mermonkey a mechanical mermonkey, and not a mechanical monkey or a mechanical mermaid or anything else?” 

Thomas replied that he had had the idea of a bookshop with a mechanical monkey that would type on a keyboard for a very long time. When he decided to place the bookshop in Eerie-on-Sea, he added a mermaid’s tail to the monkey to make it seem like it belonged by the sea. Thus came the mechanical mermonkey. As for why a mechanical mermonkey he responded, “I just thought it was fun, I don’t know why.”

Want to hear more about Malamander and everything that the book has to offer? Hear it straight from Thomas Taylor, the author in this video below. 


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