A convoluted children’s book featuring an English rose and a lily who discover their mother is an author.
Sisters Lily and Rose are walking home from school in the pouring rain. When they arrive home, Lily is drenched because she didn’t put on her raincoat, and their mother isn’t too pleased with her coming in sopping wet. Mum reprimands the girls, telling the duo that she has a task for them to complete later on in the evening. The girls beg to be let in on the secret, but Mum keeps, well, mum, on what she has planned. Like any children under such circumstances, the girls quickly snap into their best behavior, and it is soon revealed that Mum has written a children’s story, and she wants them to read it. The story, it turns out, follows a city boy named Uranus who, in the summer, lives with his aunt in the country and creates magical characters. In Morina’s debut children’s book, the basic themes of the plot—sibling camaraderie, creativity and imagination—could carry over into something great, but they are bogged down by poor execution. Rose and Lily are both funny, cute characters, yet their tale is fraught with mechanical and grammatical errors: “First, she crosses her hands, pushes them upfront, bending them, lifts them up and lets them loose one at a time, whooshing at the same time she begins moving her footsteps, going two steps forward and then one step backwards and so forth, placing her heel on the wet floor, as she was just about to make a massive turn, she slides and tumbles.” The plotline is also hard to follow—there is no rising action, no climax and no true conflict. The girls are simply coming home and reading their mother’s story; with this lack of pull, it’s hard to grip readers. As for the story within the story—that of Uranus and his aunt—it suffers the same issues as its encapsulating tale, with more mechanical errors and plot pacing problems. The story of Uranus has good bones—away from his parents and friends, he is forced to use his imagination to create his very own wondrous world. There’s just barely enough magic there for children to be entranced. Also, the drawings that bookend the work, though cute and colorful, aren’t really up to snuff for a high-quality children’s book.
An earnest but poorly executed tale.