Book Review: The Book of Nonsense by David Michael Slater

January 19, 2009

book-of-nonsense

The Book of Nonsense by David Michael Slater is a treat for mystery lovers, magic lovers and just general book lovers. Daphna and her twin Dexter are as different as twins can be. Daphna loves books and volunteers reading at the local retirement home. Dex skips school and doesn’t want to be anywhere near a bookstore. This puts Dex at odds with his father too, who finds and sells rare books.

But both twins are put out by their dad’s (Milton) latest scouting trip, which kept him away from home for six weeks in the summer. Their mother died when they were young, and they are cared for by her best friend. The mystery really starts when the dad returns home the day before the twins’ 13th birthday, and Daphna takes him to see the labrynthine bookstore she has discovered over the summer. Milton hopes to sell a strange book he has discovered, and when Milton shows his book to the old man who owns the store, Daphna hides behind a stack of books to watch what happens. She is surprised to see that her dad doesn’t negotiate at all. In fact, he gives the book away after agreeing that Daphna herself will show up the next day to work as the old man’s assistant.

Why did her father give away a book he wanted to sell? Why did he agree for her to work as an assistant, starting on her birthday? What is the significance of this book of nonsense that her father found?

Readers will follow the twins as they overcome their differences and work to solve the mystery, which leads back to their mother’s past and threatens their future. My daughter Catherine picked this book up the day it came in and didn’t put it down until she finished it. The mystery kept her turning the pages. And while there is some violence towards the end of the story, it should be appropriate for readers aged 10 and above.