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Grade 4-6–Measle Stubbs lives in a vile house with his hateful guardian, Basil Tramplebone. Basil, who is a "Wrathmonk," a warlock gone mad, has one pleasure, his amazingly elaborate model train set, and one day he reduces Measle to a tiny size and sets him down within it. Before long, Measle discovers six other small humans and a dog, and together they must figure out how to survive in a hostile environment where the only food (donut crumbs left by Basil) will turn them slowly into plastic, avoid the hungry bat that stalks them, and find a way to vanquish Basil. This is a fine premise, but the farfetched methods through which the companions accomplish these goals are forced and unsatisfying. Why do carrots provide an antidote to the magic donuts? Could a half-inch-tall boy really outrun a four-inch-long cockroach? The characters are one-dimensional and uninteresting, and some of them seem to have been created solely for their necessary abilities. Good triumphs over evil, the tiny people are returned to their normal size, and Measle even gets his long-lost parents back, but the tone remains muted to the end.–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
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Gr. 3-7. Ten-year-old Measle Stubbs is a scrappy orphan who lives with horrible, sinister guardian Basil Tramplebone. Basil is a Wrathmonk, a wicked wizard. When he discovers Measle playing with his cherished miniature railway, Basil casts an evil spell that shrinks Measle to tiny proportions and imprisons him in the world of the train set. This, of course, puts Measle in all sorts of fantastic predicaments, including his memorable escapes from hungry bats and roaches. The story ends with the suggestion of a sequel. This entertaining, fast-paced novel has moments of humor and suspense, but its characters and plot are derivative of such popular fantasy stories as the Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Still, fans of those tales will no doubt find appeal in Ogilvy's quirky characters and their bizarre adventures. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved