A review by roshreviews
Adventures of a Dwergish Girl by Daniel Pinkwater


Adventures of a Dwergish girl by Daniel Pinkwater: a review
Genre: Children's fiction

With thanks to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest feedback.

When I was just learning to cook, I had once tried making a lettuce salad using varied ingredients. Its flavour turned out to be pretty decent but the feedback I received from my family was, "You have tried to put a little bit of everything, but haven't kept any dominant ingredient. Putting equal quantities of each of the main ingredients just messes with the overall flavour." I have always kept that advice in mind because it did seem to make a lot of sense.

The author of this book seems to have made the same amateurish mistake. He has tried to put in fantasy, horror, thrill, humour, adventure, bad guys, good guys, evil guys, silly guys, clever guys,... all within a 192 page book. At the end, there is no dominant idea and the book just ends up as the book version of a jack of all trades and master of none.

Does that mean that the book is boring and not worth reading? Not at all. It does have its positive points also. Here's a brief review about the book that tries too hard and doesn't quite succeed.

Molly van Dwerg is the eponymous Dwergish girl, Dwerg being Dutch for "dwarf". She is quite fed up with her routine life in her village with the other dwergs and hence seeks to go to the nearest town of Kingston to live her life fully and freely. What she discovers there, how she adjusts to life amid humans, and how she uses her Dwergish powers & friendships to save the town forms the rest of the story.

- Molly is a character whom children will love. She is a girl to look up to as she is brave, intelligent and willing to try new things instead of sticking to convention. She would be a good role model for young girls.
- There are a few really humorous scenes in the book. So the fun element that children always enjoy reading is taken care of.
- The dwergs seem to be an interesting race and their characteristics will definitely keep children intrigued.
- The dwergs' attempt to fit in at the local school can teach children about how we must accept strangers who are different to us in appearance. There are a few such allegorical lessons peppered throughout the book.
- Special mention to the cover. It is so colourful and appealing.

- The ending is too abrupt. I have a feeling the author deliberately kept it like that in order to leave some scope for a sequel, but it should have been written better. It's like a car that was going at a steady 80kmph and then suddenly braking to a halt without a warning. You are caught unawares.
- Like I mentioned above, the author tries too hard and too much. I wish the author could have focussed on any one or two dominant elements and kept the story structured around those.
- The historical description given for the places that Molly visits is written in a very drab and stretched-out way. As the main target audience is children, this aspect should have been tackled more like brief interesting tidbits rather than a detailed history lesson.

In short, the book could have been much more, if only the author had decided to keep on track rather than desperately trying to cover as many ideas as could possibly fit within his story.

My rating: 3.25/5

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