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The Mum Hunt

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About the Author

Gwyneth Rees is half Welsh and half English and grew up in Scotland. She went to Glasgow University and qualified as a doctor in 1990. She is a child and adolescent psychiatrist but has now stopped practising so that she can write full-time. She is the author of many bestselling books, including the Fairies series, the Cosmo series and the Marietta's Magic Dress Shop series, as well as several books for older readers. Gwyneth's new books, My Super Sister and My Super Sister and the Birthday Party mark the start of an exciting new series about two sisters, Emma and Saffie, who have superpowers! She lives near London with her husband, Robert, their daughters, Eliza and Lottie.


Gr 3-6-Esmie, 11, and her teenaged brother live in England with their widowed dad and their French au pair, Juliette. They want to find a new mum, so they set dad up on dates, using "adverts" in the local paper, without his knowledge. Juliette thinks this is a great idea, and helps them. The arrangements get mixed up, and the youngsters only anger their father. The story is clich? driven and predictable. The writing is unconvincing, and the characters never become fully believable, especially the father and Juliette. Still, the book does show that these issues are universal.-JoAnn Jonas, Chula Vista Public Library, San Diego, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Esmie, the 11-year-old narrator of this engaging novel, complains that no one makes enough of a fuss over her: not her widower father, an overworked police detective; not Juliette, the family's feisty 22-year-old French au pair, so bold as to have her own social life; and certainly not her 15-year-old brother, Matty, who splits his time between bickering with Esmie and with their father. Deciding that her father is lonely, Esmie joins forces with Juliette and Matty to place a personals ad in the newspaper in hopes of finding him a wife. The plan hits some snags, for example, when Esmie, after watching The Sound of Music, begins to think that Juliette would make the ideal stepmother, and when an elaborately plotted blind date backfires. The author, a Londoner making her U.S. debut, nimbly balances the tale's ample humor with genuinely poignant elements, including Esmie's imaginary conversations with a photograph of the mother she never knew and Matty's struggle to assert his independence from their father. The tale's ending is satisfying if a tad overly tidy, but the dialogue and the family dynamics are entirely convincing and affecting. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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