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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Pure Dead Trouble* by Debi Gliori - young readers book review

Also by Debi Gliori:

The Scariest Thing of All

Pure Dead Frozen

Pure Dead Brilliant

Pure Dead Magic

Pure Dead Batty

Pure Dead Wicked

Stormy Weather



Pure Dead Trouble
by Debi Gliori
Ages 9-12 304 pages Yearling August 2006 Paperback    

One butler suffering from amnesia; one temporary replacement butler who fancies himself as an eco-warrior; an unwed dragon mother called Ffup, busy making wedding plans; a crocodile named Tock with grandiose plans for redesigning a moat; and an unthawed great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother (Strega-Nona) who helps to save the day - these are just a few of the ingredients that make Pure Dead Trouble, the fourth book in Debi Gliori’s Pure Dead series of children’s books, so entertaining and so much fun to read. She’s been compared to J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket, and Roald Dahl, and her Addams Family-style humor liberally laces these books like arsenic – “mmm...Tangy!” to quote Uncle Fester. Her books are page-turning delights sure to please kids and adults. When reading aloud, it’s difficult to supress laughter.

Pure Dead Troublebegins with the Strega-Borgia family’s return from a vacation to Italy. Their devoted butler, Latch, who until this book has been basically a bit character, is supposed to meet them at the airport and give them a ride back to their family castle, StregaSchloss. When he fails to arrive, Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia is furious. His temper doesn’t improve when he finds out upon arrival at StregaSchloss that the taxi driver wants to charge him two hundred and fifty pounds for the trip.

His anger soon turns to concern after his son, Titus, yells to him that “There’s a body on the doorstep.” The body is their butler’s, who seems not to recognize anyone and smells strangely of sulfur. The family’s magical nanny, Mrs. Flora McLachlan, recognizes the smell as a sign that the dark forces that plagued the Strega-Borgias in the previous novel, Pure Dead Brilliant, are still after them.

Reading the books prior to isn’t required to enjoy Pure Dead Trouble, but I do highly recommend all of them. The third novel, Pure Dead Brilliant, is useful to have read to fully appreciate and understand Pure Dead Trouble. In Brilliant, Mrs. Flora McLachlan leaves a powerful gem called the Chronostone at a magical library in care of a centaur, Alpha Centauri (who has a small part in Trouble). This is not enough to ensure its (or the Strega-Borgia family’s) safety, however. The Hadean Executive, S’tan himself (as he’s known as in this book), will stop at nothing to get the Chronostone for his nefarious plans. He unleashes Isagoth, the Defense Minister of Hades (Wet Affairs), to search for and claim it after Alpha Centauri narrowly escapes their clutches with the gem.

In a parallel plotline, the Strega-Borgias hire a temporary butler, Alexander “Zander” Imlach, work for them until Latch recovers his memory. Pandora, the nearly eleven-year-old Strega-Borgia daughter, is smitten with him, not knowing that Zander is in reality a nut-case eco-warrior. Zander is bent on the destruction of SapienTech, a company that has recently relocated to the neighborhood and truly deserves to be destroyed due to its unsavory experiments on both animals and humans. Unfortunately, Zander is a zealot who won’t let anything or anyone get in his way and is a pretty unsavory character himself.

Will the Stega-Borgia’s magical nanny, Flora McLachlan, save the day by locating the Chronostone first? Will Ffup’s wedding go off without a hitch? Will Latch recover his memory and finally reveal his love for Flora? Will Tock ever complete his moat makeover, necessitated by his unplugging of the original one? These are just a few of the many questions answered in Pure Dead Trouble. Pure Dead Brilliant had been my favorite of the series up until now, and I’d still give it a slight edge. But Pure Dead Trouble gives it strong competition, and it, like all of the books Debi Gliori writes, is Pure Dead Enjoyable to read.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Douglas R. Cobb/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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