Okay, so I realize this is a little large, but I believe you really need to explore the cover of this book. I can't tell you how many times I looked at the cover and saw just a regular hat on the top of Tilda's head. It wasn't until I was reading the book that I discovered she had a goldfish bowl with a rehydrated fish in it wearing sunglasses and a frog that thinks it's a cat in her hat. And you won't believe why she's even wearing a hat to begin with! So...on to the particulars.
The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton (Book One Crash Landing on Ooleeoo) by Angela Shelton
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound Goodreads Summary-
A modern Mary Poppins in space.
In the middle of cosmic danger, the electrifying secret that Tilda Pinkerton, the magical hat maker, hides from the children she teaches - becomes her most miraculous gift, securing the safety of the planet she crashes on. Somewhere out in the Sombrero Galaxy, Tilda Pinkerton–mystical maker of mysterious, magnificent, magical hats–is being hunted by the Keeper of Darkness. Yet Tilda simply does not recall, at all, after taking a tremendous fall. No one on Ooleeoo, where Tilda crash-landed, knows she is from another planet. Only Star Jumper Randy can tell her—but he’s light years away, frantically searching for his missing love, desperate that without her, the entire galaxy soon may be lost. Even in the middle of cosmic danger, Tilda loves to create hats, for which she has a rare and uncanny knack. All who receive them sparkle, in fact—and spark their innermost talent. With a Tilda hat, people can suddenly do whatever they dream of, causing brilliant ideas to grow madly. With Gladys the toad, who thinks she’s a cat, and Frank the fish, who lives in her hat, Tilda must discover who she is and what her enemy wants from her so badly. But the Mayor of Moodle has other plans, including a ban on all wearing of hats, everywhere on Ooleeoo. His dark and forbidding actions seem to coincide with something unworldly, threatening all with a nameless dread and slowly blacking out the sky. With Ooleeoo itself turning upside down, how can anyone survive?
Okay, so this book was a bit awkward and slow in the beginning. And the sense of time passing wasn't communicated well. But I think smarter Middle Grade readers will enjoy reading this one. I couldn't help but thing of the Magic School Bus episodes and books I watched and read with my kids over the years. This reminded me of that a lot. (There were no buses involved.) But Tilda is like the wiser teacher that won't give you the answers but still teaches the kids a lot. There are words in this book that I have never heard of and had no idea how to pronounce but the book does a pretty good job of translating and giving definitions on the same page the words appear. There is also an extensive glossary in the front of the novel listing the characters and their names which gives a clue to what their talents are.
Tilda is a Light Keeper, the best at what she does, but because she crashed on Ooleeoo, she is believed to be dead or captured by her fellow Light Keepers. However they are discovering an ominous new threat from the KOD (Keeper of the Dark) their enemy while Tilda is discovering the same thing. And she believes someone on Ooleeoo might be in cahoots with him. But it seems that Tilda has a knack for making hats and not just any hats. These hats bring out the talents of the person wearing it whether it be musical, artistic, dancing or fashioning artwork from trash. Her hats are in high demand and she's also the school teacher. So Tilda is fairly well ensconced in the community. However, after several years the mayor decides to make it illegal to wear her hats and sets about to try to destroy Tilda and her hats.
In a town where everyone adores Tilda and her hats and where a mayor has already outlawed music and now their other love, you can imagine how well this goes over.
But it will take everyone including a visitor from her past to save her hats from destruction from the mayor. Even then the magic may be lost. And when Tilda discovers who she is what will she do then?
I don't recommend this book to reluctant readers. It has tough words and some slow parts. It's a definite vocabulary builder. Part science fiction, part action adventure it's for any middle grader that likes those two genres.
I received a complimentary copy of the novel form the author for review. This in no way influenced my review of the novel.