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Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars

Cover of Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars

Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars

For fans of Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers comes a story about mothers and daughters and magical trees that Rebecca Stead calls "an utter delight."

All Molly wants is to be normal like her friend Ellen Palmer. Ellen, with her neat braids and a tidy house and a mother and father who are home for dinner every night. But Molly's mom spends her mornings tramping through the woods, looking for ingredients for her potions. Their house is not neat, and their rooster, the Gentleman, runs wild in their yard. And it is the Gentleman that angers their grumpy neighbors, the Grimshaws. So Molly's mom makes a potion that will grow a tree between their houses.

When Molly's mom accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree, Molly is determined to get her back. But with the Grimshaws planning to cut down the tree branches that reach onto their property, time is of the essence. With the help of her mysterious classmate Pim Wilder, Molly sets out to save her mother and discovers the wonder that lies in the ordinary.

Praise for Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars:

"Open-hearted and magical—an utter delight." —Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me and Goodbye, Stranger

"A beautiful, magical story, full of surprises and brimming with wisdom." —Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
For fans of Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers comes a story about mothers and daughters and magical trees that Rebecca Stead calls "an utter delight."

All Molly wants is to be normal like her friend Ellen Palmer. Ellen, with her neat braids and a tidy house and a mother and father who are home for dinner every night. But Molly's mom spends her mornings tramping through the woods, looking for ingredients for her potions. Their house is not neat, and their rooster, the Gentleman, runs wild in their yard. And it is the Gentleman that angers their grumpy neighbors, the Grimshaws. So Molly's mom makes a potion that will grow a tree between their houses.

When Molly's mom accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree, Molly is determined to get her back. But with the Grimshaws planning to cut down the tree branches that reach onto their property, time is of the essence. With the help of her mysterious classmate Pim Wilder, Molly sets out to save her mother and discovers the wonder that lies in the ordinary.

Praise for Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars:

"Open-hearted and magical—an utter delight." —Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me and Goodbye, Stranger

"A beautiful, magical story, full of surprises and brimming with wisdom." —Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Amaranth

    Chapter 1

    A Prickly Day

    When Molly woke up, she could tell it was one of those days. She sniffed to make sure. Then she sat up straight and called out in her most thunderous voice, "Hey, I'm awake."

    Just as she suspected, there was no answer. The house hardly creaked. The Gentleman didn't even crow. On a day like this, when the morning was making white, shimmery patterns on her wall and the birds' singing was sun-drenched and giddy, her mama would already be gone into the woods.

    Molly was the only girl whose mama went into the woods, and Molly didn't like it. She turned over in her bed and thought: I just won't get up at all, today is a prickly day.

    A day arrives with a certain feeling about it, and this one was a brimming and giving-forth day, a day when the wild herbs would be just right for collecting. The vibration in them was the best at dawn. Molly didn't like to think about plants vibrating or emitting or sensing, as this was all part of the strangeness of things, and she objected strongly to strangeness and tried to pretend it wasn't there.

    Yet something had woken her; something had let her know today had arrived with its own prickly plans. She suspected it was vibrations. Terrible, secret, mysterious, and uninvited vibrations.

    Molly blocked her ears with her hands and imagined that her mama was just like Ellen's mother, who drove a nice clean car and gave Ellen muesli bars in plastic wrappers and let her watch whatever she liked on television. Molly flexed her toes to let them know she would soon be depending on them. Everything was bound to be in a contrary way this morning; even her toes might misbehave. At least, she comforted herself, at least while her mama was gone, she could eat crumpets from the packet, with blackberry jam. Molly liked things that came in packets. Packets were what Ellen's mother had.

    At this happy thought, Molly sat up again and called to Claudine the cat, but Claudine didn't come. Claudine never came when she was called. Molly found her curled up like a croissant on the piano. Claudine was fat and black and glossy with white paws, one of which she glamorously extended beyond her nose. She glanced at Molly and appeared to be thinking lofty, superior thoughts about Molly in her mismatched pajamas: spotty on top and stripy on the bottom. Molly's mama would say, "Claudine thinks we are slobs!" Claudine was not French, but it was as if she thought she was. It was as if she should have been fed tarte aux pommes (which is French for "apple tart") all day long.

    "Well," said Molly, climbing onto the stool so she could stroke Claudine's nice fat tummy, "no one really loves you, Claudine, anyway. We just tolerate you." Then she spelled out the word, t-o-l-e-r-a-t-e, as if this might help Claudine understand. But Claudine, as usual, didn't care about words or love. She only raised her head to look around the room for sunny spots, and then, finding none better than where she was, she closed her eyes again.

    Molly spread butter and blackberry jam onto two crumpets and squished the jam into the holes so she could put even more on top. Balancing the plate on her hand above her head, she danced an Egyptian dance of the seven veils at Claudine. Claudine ignored the dancing, so Molly put down her plate and picked up her ukulele and sang "The Drunken Sailor" very loudly until Claudine stood up, arched her tail stiffly, and slunk out into the kitchen.

    Molly went back to bed with her crumpets and ate them by herself. Once they were gone, she let herself feel sorry...

About the Author-
  • Martine Murray studied law at Melbourne University, then pursued painting and joined a circus before starting a dance company called Bird on a Wire. After an injury, she began writing and illustrating books for children and young adults. Her novels, including The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley, have won several awards in Australia. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages. She lives in Castlemaine, Australia, with her daughter and dog. Visit her at martinemurray.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 7, 2016
    Both down-to-earth and ethereal, Murray’s (How to Make a Bird) novel introduces 10-year-old Molly, who lives with her mother in a house that “feel like a Gypsy caravan” inside and has “not one proper corner or straight line.” Molly conceals the “not-quite-normal” parts of her life from her practical best friend, Ellen, including her “muddled and dreaming” Mama’s preoccupations with herbs, poetry, and other projects. So when Mama concocts a potion intended to grow a tree to block them from their horrid neighbors—but instead turns into a tree herself—Molly hides this turn of events from Ellen. Instead, she confides in Pim, a reclusive boy who believes in the interconnectedness of all living things, revealing that her sentient “Mama tree” rearranges its branches to create a bed for her and bears mysterious fruit to feed her. Murray’s gentle, image-rich narrative takes on gripping urgency as Molly and Pim try to protect the tree from her neighbors’ chainsaw. Tinged with fantasy, this is a thoughtful exploration of difference, as well as the ties between friends, parents and children, and humans and nature. Ages 8–12.

  • School Library Journal, starred review "Imaginative middle graders will relish this gentle story with a fairy-tale feel."
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    Random House Children's Books
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Martine Murray
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