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A GAGGLE OF GOBLINS by Suzanne Harper


From the Unseen World of Poppy Malone series, volume 1

by Suzanne Harper

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-199607-8
Publisher: Greenwillow

A new series focuses on the adventures of four kids whose parents are professional paranormal investigators. Protagonist Poppy is logical and practical; her older sister Franny, vain; her older brother Will, lazy; and her younger brother Rolly, mischievous. They all find their folks exasperating, and Poppy finds her siblings so as well. Oddly, it is Poppy, the grounded one, who finds herself tracking down actual paranormal creatures: goblins. Their parents are distracted by exploring ley lines under their new home, preparing for an onslaught of vicious vampires chasing one of their colleagues and trying to make contact with a potential Dark Presence that Mrs. Malone senses in the house. These are all red herrings, for readers as well as Mr. and Mrs. Malone; the real story is the goblin troupe that kidnaps Rolly and leaves a goblin doppelganger in his place, after having observed the boy's extraordinary talent for getting into trouble. Poppy is likable and a good problem-solver, and the plot moves along swiftly. Unfortunately, the secondary characters, especially the siblings, are completely one-dimensional. Franny is so annoying that even reading about her becomes so; the same goes for Will. Rolly's tricks are funny, and he might make an interesting character if we get to know him a little better in subsequent stories. Needs a little more development all around. (Fantasy. 8-11)