Word Spelunking

The Mapmaker and the Ghost - Sarvenaz Tash THREE WORDS: Fabulous, Fantastical FunMY REVIEW: A plucky heroine, a daring quest, a ragtag group of outrageously named misfits, an elegant ghost, and thrilling adventure? Yep, Sarvenaz Tash’s MG book The Mapmaker and the Ghost has all of this and then some!Eleven year old Goldenrod Moram loves maps, a good quest and her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark. What starts out to be an ordinary, boring summer turns into a something so much more as Goldenrod sets out to make the most accurate and detailed map of her hometown, Pilmilton. A mysterious old lady, a quest for a blue rose, the ghost of Meriwether Lewis, a group of ingenious troublemakers and one pretty cool little brother come together to set into motion a grand adventure for our intrepid explorer Goldenrod.I had SO much fun reading this book! Sarvenaz Tash has created a truly unique, imaginative and special story. With a fantastically fun story full of non-stop adventure, compelling characters and superb writing, The Mapmaker and the Ghost is a definite delight.I found this to be a quick read and read it one sitting; I was simply too enchanted to put it down. The story is easy to fall into and I was more than a little sad when it was over. Fast paced and action packed the story will hold the attention of even younger readers from beginning to end. Tash’s writing and voice are pitch-perfect for her intended MG audience: clever, fun, humorous and a bit whimsical.Tash’s main character, Goldrenrod Moram, is a gem of a character that sparkles and shines. Goldenrod is so wonderfully crafted; she’s refreshing, relatable, spirited, and definitely one of a kind. There’s something so charming about Goldenrod’s mapmaking and exploring hobby and her choice of idols. And I think Goldenrod’s thirst for adventure and excitement will connect with readers of all ages, but especially younger readers.Tash’s entire cast of characters is awesome and impossible to forget. Goldenrod’s little brother, Birch, is endearing and surprisingly very non-annoying for a little brother. The mysterious old lady by the woods and the ghost of Meriwether Lewis make for really likable and entertaining grown-up characters, while Goldenrod’s parents and fifth-grade teacher are kind of amusingly absurd in the way that younger readers often prefer authoritative characters to be. And then of course, there’s the Gross-Out Gang- the eclectic band of misfits that live in the forest. The Gross-Out Gang consists of six of the most awesomely and aptly nicknamed characters ever: Spitbubble, Brains, Lint, Snotshot, Toe Jam and No-Bone.Seriously, Tash has come up with some of the best and most unforgettable character names I’ve come across in a long time. I really do adore the names and I think the book’s intended audience will as well because younger readers tend to be drawn to the more whimsical and fantastical things in life. I know when I think of all the MG books I love and loved as a child, the ones that stand out most are the ones with unusual character and/or setting names.Goldenrod’s quest for the blue rose and her adventure going up against the Gross-Out Gang is full of excitement, laughs and fun twists and turns that will keep readers eagerly turning pages, and the book ends with a heartwarming conclusion that will satisfy readers and make them smile.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Goldenrod is character that readers, like myself, will simply fall in love with and will want to go on a thousand more adventures with and The Mapmaker and the Ghost is a book that readers of all ages will gobble up like cupcakes. A definite must read!

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