Review sponsored* by M.M. Allen
The Children’s Book Review | August 25, 2015
Written by M. M. Allen
Paperback: 168 pages
Age Range: 9-12
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2015)
What to expect: Loss, Siblings, Fantasy
Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk, written by M.M. Allen, is a fantastical novel filled with some mystery and a touch of magic. It deals primarily with loss and healing. The creativity of the writing and the imaginative storyline remind the reader of Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. There are also many interesting animal characters like those found in Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox: a possum family, rattlesnakes, a skunk, and a wolf.
Readers are introduced to the world of Wishapick when Jack unlocks a forbidden black trunk and feels the deep urge to jump in. Although he knows he shouldn’t do it, Jack cannot resist. What he discovers deep inside the trunk is a realm that was once filled with love and light, but is now filled with darkness. The animals of Wishapick have been expecting Jack and need him to find an amulet and remember the special word his mother taught him that means “the Breath of All Good Things.” Remembering the special word will restore the light in Wishapick that has been taken away by the rattle snake king. Hostage to his own dark feelings, Jack doubts he will find the amulet and remember the name of the breath. Little does Jack know, his pesky sister Lily has followed him into the trunk. Although unexpected by the animals of Wishapick, she may be just the key that Jack needs to restore the light in Wishapick. Lily is also essential to helping Jack deal with the loss of his father. As Jack works through his emotions and deals with his loss, the plot unfolds clearly.
M.M. Allen’s descriptive writing appeals to all senses as she provides visual clues that allow readers to easily summon the scenes to mind. The chapters are short and concise which makes this a nice choice for reading aloud to a classroom or for those that are fairly new to chapter books. Although Jack is the main character, Allen switches up the perspective between Jack and Lily, which helps to propel the plot and adds interest for both girl and boy readers. There are elements that may feel scary to some, such as a battle with rattlesnakes, however, these moments of action are quick and to the point.
In addition to the novel, there is also a music CD (sold separately) that allows readers a deeper look into the characters and story. The music is lovely and mystical with a forest feel—one might imagine listening to the CD while in a store that sells beautiful crystal rocks and woody scented candles.
While Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk, at its core, is about trauma and anger and sadness, it serves as a lovely reminder not to let dark feelings overtake life. In essence, this story is also a reminder to readers that stories are a great place to go for a safe escape from reality—the light can shine through even after the darkest days. Because the core is disguised in a breathy and fantastical storytelling style, imaginations will flourish and the tale will be enjoyed by kids ages 8-12 who enjoy the genre of fantasy.
Add this book to your collection: Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk
About the Author
M. M. Allen, author of the acclaimed children’s picture book Let’s Play Ball, is the mother of two adult children and aunt to twenty-three nieces and nephews, including ten great-nieces and great-nephews. MM is a former teacher and university lecturer. She has also worked extensively in marketing and communications with varied businesses and non-profits. MM lives in a picturesque northern California town where she enjoys writing, tending to her rose garden, and caring for her West Highland terrier, Pip.
For her middle grade fantasy Wishapick, Allen collaborated with musician and lyricist Deborah Wynne, who created a companion CD of songs to accompany the novel. Wynne’s primary talents lie in choral singing, stage musicals, and composing. Her musical projects include the 2013 album Strands of Gold and 2007 musical Moment of Truth. She is an active singer and composer in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her husband and their two shelties, Sparkle and Gracie.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk,” M.M. Allen, sponsored* this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …