Title: The Misadventures of Hobart Hucklebuck: Magic and Mayhem
Author: Stan Swanson
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: August 2014
Genre: middle-grade, action-adventure fantasy
Source: Curiousity Quills Press
Things are not as they should be in Pennywhistle. Enchanted toasters are not toasting, enchanted sprinklers are not sprinkling and Hobart Hucklebuck’s origami messenger birds are suddenly attacking him.
Someone seems to be draining the power from all of the enchanted items in the village. But who could it be and why have they implicated Hobart’s grandfather?
“The Misadventures of Hobart Hucklebuck” follows Hobart and his friends, Specks Spacklethack and Rosie Rumpleskirt, as they try to solve this mystery and free Hobart’s grandfather from the Tower of Tribulation on Mumblemonk Mountain.
The trio’s investigation into the mysterious happenings on Druid Lane gets them into hot water more than once and ultimately brings them dangerously close to disaster not only for themselves, but the entire village of Pennywhistle.
There are misadventures. There is mayhem. And there is magic…but not from Hobart Hucklebuck. Poor Hobart, who is as sweet as can be, finds himself to be the least magical in his family, after being dropped off to spend his spring break with his grandfather in Pennywhistle.
It is a very unusual spring break for all of Pennywhistle. Over the course of days, Hobart, his family and his friends notice something very strange is going on in Druid Lane…and in fact, all of Pennywhistle. All of the enchanted items and appliances won’t work. Bread doesn’t magically dance across the counter and pop itself into the toaster, and it surely doesn’t butter itself when it comes out all toasty, either; pepper will give a dash to your dinner plate, but salt obstinately won’t budge; brooms and mops have lost their enchantments and must be used the old-fashioned way. And there has been a strange cat hanging around Druid Lane all of a sudden that Hobart keeps seeing.
Hobart’s grandfather, Wicksford Waxenbee, owns the Hocus Pocus Magic Shop on Druid Lane. It’s a magic shop, and in this magic shop are W..’s old potions and concoctions that went wrong, like Pixie Powder (aka Demon Dust). In one corner of the shop is an old mirror with a huge crack down the middle. This mirror suddenly becomes the interest of two different shop owners on Druid Lane.
Wicksford has several friends among the shop owners on Druid Lane, including his old pal from his potion making days, Beauregard Bladderblott. Hobart learns a lot about his grandfather’s younger days, including the story behind the Pixie Powder, and why his grandfather couldn’t sell it.
There’s one thing about Hobart, besides his non-magical abilities. Hobart is afraid of cats. Like, screech and squeek afraid. He has two friends, Specks and Rosie. Rosie is adventurous and bold, and Specks is a chicken with some good comeback lines. They stick together through good and bad, and when that meanie Pickwick Prattfall gets Rosie stuck to the ceiling in the defunct broom factory, it’s on!
But Pick turns out to not be the bully in this story…his dad is. Turns out his dad has a long-standing beef with Hobart’s grandfather from their days way back at the Bureau of Magic, and now has come Pernacious Prattfall’s collection day. Despite this animosity, Hobart welcome Pick into their gang after some heartfelt words on Prick’s part. That is what sealed the deal for me about Hobart, who stood up to his friends and allowed Pick, who had picked on them, teased them and been an all-around show-off snot to them, into the group.
“What’s going on here?”
The two boys glanced toward the end of the alley.
“Well, well,” Pick said as he hitched up his pants. “If it isn’t Rosie-Posie, too-darned-nosey.”
Rosie Rumpleskirt stood at the other end of the alley, hands placed firmly on hips in a familiar pose. She tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for an explanation.
With his grandfather locked away, Hobart, Specks, Rosie and Pick are on a mission to investigate who is behind this madness in Pennywhistle. Among their top suspects are many of the shopkeepers of Druid Lane, including Wicksford’s best friend, Bladderblott. They start conducting their own investigations and seem to be getting nowhere…until something is stolen from the magic shop and that strange cat seems to know something about it all.
This book was a fantastic read and spoke volumes about friendship and loyalty. A wonderful middle grades book, and right in time as a reminder for the upcoming school year.
*****About the Author*****
Stan Swanson is a Bram Stoker award finalist and author of eight books including Forever Zombie (a collection of short stories), Write of the Living Dead (a highly-praised writing guide written with Araminta Star Matthews and Rachel Lee) and Return of the Scream Queen (co-authored with Michael McCarty and Linnea Quigley). He is also editor/publisher for Dark Moon Books and Dark Moon Digest. Upcoming titles include Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (the first book in a young adult horror series co-written with Araminta Star Matthews), Dead Sparrows (a collection of apocalyptic poetry) and The Methlands (a horror novel co-written with award-winning author Joe McKinney).