The Blue Umbrella (Mike Mason)

I wrote the entire final battle scene of my novel yesterday. Twenty-two pages in a composition book. So I almost don’t have anything left to say. But I just finished The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason, and it was amazing. I actually bought this book entirely based on its design. It has covers that fold in, so it’s a paperback, but it’s pretty sturdy. And the edges of the pages are cut uneven so reading it feels kind of like paging through a hand-stitched volume. The cover art makes it look kind of vintage too. Gorgeous, gorgeous little book.

The first half is very painful, but the way everything gets solved is so worth it. It was kind of like Narnia mashed up with Lemony Snicket. (I think I’ve only read the first Lemony Snicket, but whatever. Bucket list.) Anyway, The Blue Umbrella is about a boy named Zac whose mother is killed and he ends up with cruel aunts who are hiding things.

I can’t really talk about this book without spoiling it, because there were quite a few surprises along the way. The general plot was pretty basic, but things just kept happening and happening. My favorite thing was how beautiful the imagery is. It’s a kids’ book, but the language isn’t dumbed down at all. I didn’t mark my favorite lines because it’s a physical book, but I quite liked, “Priscilla, you’ll be sorry to hear, was called away to a sudden dinner engagement. This very moment, she’s being eaten by worms.” Mmmmm, snark.

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