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Muddle and Win (Muddle & Win) Hardcover – 30 Aug 2012
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"Hear the name John Dickinson, and you expect something intriguing and original. And with this fascinating book for younger readers, you won't be disappointed. ...Stories don't have to be quick and easy to be enjoyable, and there's nothing wrong with expecting your readers to reach high. This book is touching and funny and provocative, and we promise you ― it will be well worth any effort you put into reading it." (The Bookbag)
"This is one of those books that takes figurative meaning literally. And you end up with a whole lot of light-hearted silly good fun. But parallel to this, Muddle and Win also explores concepts of good, evil, truth, and ideas (just some of life’s itsy-bitsy philosophical questions). At times, I thought the storyline was aimed at 10 years or younger, but the language structure (and maybe some of the ideas) is aimed at an older reader. There are bits for everyone in there." (WeSatDown blogspot)
"Muddle & Win is bonkers, but in a good way! I was hurled into this fabulously imagined world that was brilliantly fun, silly, witty and wonderfully written and put together. I immediately fell in love with brave little Muddlespot... The storyline is engaging and is perfectly paced, it is one of them one-sitting books that I love so much. I really haven't come across anything like Muddle & Win before and I think everyone should read it themselves to experience the full on punch of silliness it packs into every page." (Carly Fiction Fascination blogspot)
"It's a brilliant, funny story about good and bad which is so well written that even slower, less capable readers will probably get through it in a day or two. I really enjoyed the story and think that so many pre-teens will too, its a great, fun read with a brilliant serious message underneath it all." (Raimy Rawr ReadaRaptor blogspot)
"It’s funny, and it’s scary, and it’s very, very sharp in its observations of human nature. ...It's a huge relief to come across such an intelligent, thought-provoking book for children." (Kath Langrish Steel Thistles blogspot)
A mind-bogglingly funny story about the battles and adventures inside our own heads.See all Product description
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The story reminded me rather of John Connolly's books for children in which the forces of good and evil are unleashed on an unsuspecting population and find themselves changing because of their proximity to humans and their all too human foibles which suddenly make the black and white of heaven and hell a rather more greyish, in the middle kind of thing.
In this story, Muddlespot, a lowly cleaning demon from the reaches of hell, is sent to try and infiltrate the mind of paragon of virtue Sally Jones. Muddlespot is not sent because he is clever. He is sent because he is expendable. He has no idea what he is doing, and when, entirely by accident, he makes Sally less than perfect, all hell, quite literally breaks loose.
This is very funny in places, and is an easy, fast paced read. It would be great for eights and ups who are looking for humorous, adventure stories with a bit of bite.
Discord is a theme at the heart of `Muddle and Win' and it is to be found on earth, in hell, and even in heaven. Apart from Sally and her family, amongst various demons and devils, or angels and seraphims, are 2 special agents - Muddlespot from down below for bad, and Windleberry from up above for good. They struggle to influence Sally, but her conflicts are within herself. `Muddle and Win' is a cunning morality tale, introducing principles of karma as the balance of an individual's actions through life.
However `Muddle and Win' is also highly imaginative and full of humour - with an entertaining and enjoyable plot, plus engaging and endearing characters. It is well written in short chapters, use is made of different fonts to emphasise wild exploits, and in places twin columns cleverly indicate different perspectives. The target age group for young readers is unclear - but it appealed to me as a granddad - and I award 5-star rating.
You know how you can read a book and even though you weren't really expecting to, you loved every second? When it's one of those books that has that magic, that spark, that just reminds you so much of when you were young and innocent and everything was absolute magic? Muddle and Win was that book for me. I'm not going to say it'll be that way for everyone or that it's a perfect, flawless read, but it just had a spark I've not seen in kids books for ages. It's funny, witty, quirky, exceptionally written and just so amazing. Kids and parents alike will gobble it up. It's the best kids fiction I've read since Roald Dahl and Lemony Snickett.
"The object of Mission Alpha was..."
Just like any good story, Muddle and Win is about the battle between good and evil. In this battle, just one person could tilt the balance. This person is Sally Jones, who has thousands of Good Deeds and nada Bad ones.
Sally is definitely Good. But she needs to be Bad, Bad, Bad if Hell is going to have a shot.
That's why Muddlespot, a wart-turned-imp-turned-Agent-of-Evil, is sent to turn Sally Bad, to stop her streak of endless good deeds and maybe throw in a few naughty ones.
If he fails? Well, it will be Very, Very Bad for him and the cleaners will have a verrryy tough job getting rid of his body... bits.
His job isn't helped by the presence of one of Heaven's best, Agent Windleberry, an angel in Ray-bans and a tuxedo, who is determined to keep Sally exactly as she is - Good.
Let The Battle For Sally Jones begin...
I've never read anything by Dickinson before (I don't think...) but from the moment I saw this book in all its marvellously odd glory, I knew I just had to read it. And from the very first page, I knew it wouldn't let me down. Deliciously bad and criminally fun, Muddle and Win is a story all children and teens - and their parents too - will just love. It's witty, clever, addictive and so much fun, even while it makes you question what's good and what's bad, and whether being Good is always the right thing... To sum this up, I loved Muddle and Win to pieces! It's just so brilliantly quirky!
I just adored all Dickinson's characters! Muddlespot... Oh, I almost never root for the 'villains', but I couldn't resist Muddlespot! He wasn't really all that evil - in fact, he felt kinda innocent. Well, y'know, for a demon. Needless to say, I never thought I'd love a former wart so much! Windleberry kinda reminded me of a '20s or maybe '70s (I'm not good with 1900s time periods) cop or gangsta person, what with the tux, glasses and what-not. He was your poster-boy angel - except for a tiny blip where he advised his charge to "hack" someone's shins... Long story - funny, but long! Sally Jones was like an angel: helped her mum, covered for her twin Billie, there fore everyone... But I loved her spirit - especially inner-Sally, who was funny and snarky. All the minor-ish characters were brilliant too - I loved Ismael and Scattletail, Billie's angel and demon, who'd come to an agreement and played card games to see who'd get to choose Billie's next action! But my favourite had to be Shades, Sally's amoral cat who loved to beg and steal and be worshiped! He just stole the show for me!
I absolutely adored Dickinson's writing - it was so much fun and so marvellously bonkers. And wonderfully descriptive - I saw everything in my head. It was just the kinda writing you could read forever. It's all child friendly, but there's a little humour just for the adults in there too! The plot was your standard good vs evil with a barmy twist! It did the battle in its own unique, quirky way. I just loved the mad, addictive, funny plot, and it was so the kind you can (and I did) gobble up in a single sitting.
The Hell world, Pandemonium, was just so amazingly described. Even though the general idea of Hell wasn't stunningly unique, the way of getting there really was. I loved that the way into Pandemonium was equal parts funny and scary! As for Heaven, I loved how suits were the official clothes and how weapons were musical instruments and how everyone said "Yay, verily"! Oh, and the descriptions of minds and how they differ based on the person's personality was just brilliant. Kids will just love the worlds thanks to the vivid imagery. Parents will love them because of the quirky and genius nature.
Now, this book was loads of fun to read, but it also made you think about good and bad. About expectations and how it affects people - and all this without making a huge yell of it. Personally, I think Dickinson is a genius in that department!
Muddle and Win was a brilliant, bonkers, funny, quirky book that was so much fun to read and even more additive. I read it in one sitting, gobbling it up and unable to put it down. A story or unlikely heroes, angels vs demons and whether being a little bad can be good, Muddle and Win is just a must read for everyone, be you young or not-so-young, male or female!
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Most recent customer reviews
Muddle is Muddlespot, an ex-wart, ex-cleaner sent up from the depths of Pandemonium to try and do what so many others have failed to do before:...The Traitors by Tom Becker which is another book aimed at the same age group brimming with good ideas.Read more