Muddle and Win: The Battle of Sally Jones by John Dickinson
Muddle and Win is a curious book. It’s also good (or maybe bad) fun. And there are muffins.
I’ve never read anything like it before so this is not a comparative review at all because I don’t have anything previous to draw upon. What I do know is it was originally planned as a graphic novel, so there may well be overlaps with that (but I’ve never read a graphic novel either so I don’t know).
Anyway, what hooked me was the first chapter which leads you down a trapdoor in the back of your head taking you into the dark depths of your mind leading all the way down to Pandemonium. And the second thing was the idea of a Lifetime Deeds Counter (LDC): everything you do may be counted as either a good or bad deed. I really wanted to see how this would play out. I had a feeling it might be fun.
Muddlespot is from Pandemonium – which is…down there (tucked right away in the dark depths of your head)! There’s a castle with a fire and a devil called Corozin. Ghastly things happen to people who’re dragged there. Muddlespot is chosen as the Mission Alpha agent. Basically he has to go UP THERE (heavens forbid) and take out the biggest threat to Pandemonium.
But there’s a catch: Sally Jones. Fourteen year old Sally Jones is angelic. She truly is Miss Perfect. Everyone, yes everyone, likes Sally Jones. She’s just so nice and thoughtful to everyone. To help keep it this way, she has a whole army of Guardian Angels protecting her mind whereas most people only have one. They’re protecting her from the devil’s agents – like Muddlespot. And so the battle begins. And, it is an actual battle with weapons and action, WHACKS! and SPLATS, and a whole lot of squelchy, gristly bits!
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.
David Fickling Books, Oxford, 30 August 2012
This copy: Proof received for review from the publisher