Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Rob Shepperson
Published by Boyds Mills Press, 2010
As the daughter of scientists who study all over the world, young Lilly has spent her life in a tent, living in jungles, deserts, and “the tops of old volcanoes.” But unlike her adventurous parents, Lilly is a worrier. She worries over everything, putting her worries down in her worry book in hopes that by doing so the terrible things she’s worried about won’t come true. In contrast, for entertainment in this isolated life, Lilly reads about Millicent Murray, the hero in an adventure series who always knows what to do in the most dangerous of situations and is always brave.
When Lilly’s parents have the opportunity of a lifetime, to study the frangipangi fruit fly on the Shipwreck Islands, they decide the especially long trip by boat will be too much for their worrier daughter. They leave her behind to stay with her Great Uncle Ernest, a librarian, who lives a gray life in a gray world of his own creation. But in Uncle Ernest’s quiet town of Mundelaine Lilly meets a cast of crazy characters, including a parrot posing as a chicken and Mrs. Teagarden, who frequently uses pirate terms and wears an eye patch.
Then when Lilly’s parents send a message by sea gull that their boat is sinking Lilly becomes a reluctant participant in a sea quest to rescue them.
The story manages to be funny, full of action, and yet full of heart. Root and Shepperson, through their combination of words and illustrations, make an especially moving image of the worry book’s effect on Lilly.
While so many books sag in the middle, Root takes readers on a wild adventure at sea that lasts until nearly the end when she deposits them on the sand for a satisfying ending that inspires.
—Kari Baumbach, children’s literature enthusiast
- Page 1 of 0