A middle-grade novel set in a magical land of talking animals and sweet confections.
The O’Rileys’ debut begins on a sad note: Betsy, the Master Sweet Smith of the Lemon Meringue Islands, has just passed away, and the magic pancake pan is about to name her replacement. When the stalwart, unflappable mouse Desdemona learns that the replacement is one Boomish K. Sullivan, she undertakes a journey to track him down. At first, she mistakenly believes him to be the headmaster of Dismal Manor, an orphanage in Briarberry. It turns out that Boomish, a cat, is one of the orphans, and his antics regularly get him and his friends into trouble. On the journey back to the Lemon Meringue Islands, Desdemona attempts to teach Boomish about his new responsibilities, but the cat has a bad habit of not listening. After he gets their ship stuck on a rocky crag in the middle of the ocean, they’re forced to stop at the town of Heckler’s Hunch, where Boomish’s behavior leads to his losing the irreplaceable magic pancake pan to Blackpaw the pirate. Boomish will need to learn to put others before himself in order to recover the pan and save the Lemon Meringue Islands. This lighthearted adventure moves swiftly along, and readers will likely identify with the fun, imperfect Boomish, whose habit of making up words (“An injustimous has happened to our friend that must be justimicated”) adds to the levity. Black-and-white illustrations help bring the anthropomorphized animals and their funny circumstances to life. Overall, the book is suitable for independent readers or as a read-aloud for younger listeners.
A fun, escapist tale that offers a positive moral.