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I was struggling with how to write this review for King of the Mole People. It’s a book I didn’t particularly enjoy reading but it has some redeeming qualities. Knowing that didn’t make it any easier for me to figure out how to write it. As I was taking a break, reading through the list of words for the Write 31 Days Challenge I saw the word Accept…and like a light bulb I knew how to write this review.
A big part of King of the Mole People is Doug Underbelly needs to learn to accept himself for who he is. Many of the people in his life also need to learn this truth. You are who you are. Do not pretend to be someone else.
What I am Reviewing
King of the Mole People (Book 1).
Christy Ottaviano Books. Henry Holt & Company.
272 pages, hardcover, 8-12 years.
Reviewed for Raincoast Books.
Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Humour, Upper Elementary, Middle School
Doug Underbelly is doing his best to be normal. It’s not easy: he’s bad at jokes, he’s lousy at sports, and he lives in a creaky old mansion surrounded by gravestones. Also Magda, the weird girl at school, won’t leave him alone. And if that weren’t enough, he recently got crowned King of an underground race of Mole People.
Doug didn’t ask to be king – it’s a job he can’t really avoid, like the eel sandwiches his dad makes for him (with love). If he thought dealing with seventh grade was tricky, it’s nothing compared to navigating the feud between Mole People, Slug People, Mushroom Folk and Stone Goons, not to mention preventing giant worms from rising up and destroying everything. How will Doug restore order? It’s all a matter of diplomacy!
The Details for King of the Mole People
If you like Captain Underpants and books along that line (or have children who do) King of the Mole People will be highly entertaining for them. Similar humour, images and writing style.
Doug Underbelly wants so desperately to fit in, to that end he gets into a whole lot of different situations. In the midst of all that is Doug’s role as King of the Mole people. I know…go figure…. the mole people? But they are a real part of this book along with many others who dwell below.
Can Doug manage the pressures of life above and life below? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
As Doug figures things you’ll meet all the characters in simple black/white drawings. I would have to say that 3/4’s of the pages have illustrations on them. I love the illustrator portrayed Magda. Such a quirky character. I liked her from the start. She was mostly comfortable in her own skin and just needed to learn a bit more. 🙂
Growth in characters across the board make King of the Mole People a winner. While I am not a fan of the genre, I am a fan of how it all comes together in the end. One even learns some good science!
I loved how Doug learned to accept himself and work within his own abilities, even learning to use the skills he learned trying to be someone else.