The author of books about Amelia Fang, Rainbow Grey, and a number of picture books has now turned to minibeasts. Laura Ellen Anderson tells us that Marnie Midnight has just hatched into a moth, is getting used to having wings, and very keen to go to school, especially hoping to learn more about the Moon. With her acorn backpack filled with moon-themed stationery, she leaves Miniopolis with some of her family on the Snail Rail, though her little brother Milo, still a caterpillar, comments that she is only going to be 27 garden fences from home. On the journey she meets a bee called Floyd, who would rather be considered an A, and an initially grumpy ant called Star, and they become her close friends and allies in her adventures. Marnie’s heroine is moonologist Lunora Wingheart, but she is concerned to find that Lunora is not considered interesting, Moon studies are not covered, and the Moon Club is closed. Where has the Book of Moon Spells gone? Her quest is encouraged by strange communications that seem to be from Lunora in trouble, and she and her friends need to be very brave as they leave the safety of the school, encountering rats and the Early Bird, but finally find a way to the Moon and a rescue.
It’s a good story, with much humour: Floyd is a smartly dressed and a highly dramatic character, who clutches his pearls when worried, (which is quite often) and there are a lot of insect references e.g. they learn to use the World Wide Web… Star’s grumpiness thaws when she reveals that she is a princess out for Revenge, and Marnie and Floyd help her to come to terms with her feelings. Laura Ellen Anderson has a lot of fun with this imaginary world of insects, illustrating it herself, so we know that the creatures are exactly as she intended. Although the friends hear stories about potential dangers, and Floyd is often unsure that they are doing the right thing, they are never seriously in jeopardy, and young readers need have no cause for concern, but will be relieved as the story reaches its conclusion. This is promised to be the first of a new series about Marnie Midnight, so we can look forward to further adventures.