Today’s Operation Story Share for MMGM is A House Called Awful End by Philip Ardagh. This fun little book gets two paws up from me because the story is told in the absurd tradition of Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket, which is just the sort of tradition I happen to love.
Here’s what the inside cover has to say:
When both Eddie Dickens’s parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of hot water bottles, it’s agreed he should go and stay with relatives at their house, Awful End. Unfortunately for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud. . . .
And that’s just the beginning! This crazy story also features a stuffed stoat named either Sally or Malcolm depending on who you ask, a strolling theatrical named Mr. Pumblesnook, and St. Horrid’s Home for Grateful Orphans run by none other than Mrs. Cruel-Streak.
In a Message to His American Readers (at no extra cost), Mr. Ardagh says:
The story you’re about to read was originally written in installments for my nephew Ben, who was at boarding school in England while his parents were living in Russia. Instead of sending him letters about how many cups of tea I’d drunk or how hard it had rained (there’s plenty of tea drinking and rain in England), I decided to send him a silly adventure story in installments, with a new episode every two weeks. The book you now have in your hand (or clenched between your teeth, if you’re very nearsighted or hungry) is the result.
If you’re anything like me, I bet you’re dying to know what happens to poor Eddie Dickens while he’s in the care of Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud. I’m afraid I can’t tell you—it would ruin the surprise. You’ll just have to get your paws on a copy of A House Called Awful End by Philip Ardagh and find out for yourself!