Tuesday 14 August 2012

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto by Geoffrey McSkimming (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 9781742378213
Reviewed by Ann Harth (www.annharth.com )

Fourteen-year-old Phyllis Wong is a brilliant magician. She inherited her talents from her great grandfather Wallace Wong – Conjurer of Wonder. In the prime of his magical career, Wallace Wong vanished. The mystery of his disappearance has never been solved. Phyllis, her father and her dog, Daisy live in Wallace Wong’s majestic home in the city.

In Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto, Phyllis attempts to solve a more recent mystery. A spate of robberies is rocking the city. An expensive bookend is taken from Mrs Lowerblast’s Emporium, a priceless necklace disappears from Duckworth’s and a famous painting is stolen from the museum. Every one of the thefts seems to take place in front of witnesses but no one sees a thing.

Inspector Barry Inglis knowing, but not quite understanding, the clever workings of Phyllis’s mind, enlists her help. She, Daisy and her friend, Clement (who will do anything to get out of xylophone practice) combine forces and attempt to solve the mystery behind the robberies.

Readers aged 9-14 will enjoy Geoffrey McSkimming’s novel, becoming immersed in the mystery along with a cast of likeable and unique characters. McSkimming’s writing style is particularly enjoyable as he has a wonderful touch with words.

… a colourful, glamorous, zhooshy woman burst down the stairs like a perfumed cluster of runaway balloons.’

‘A little noise came from the back of Daisy’s throat (it sounded like she was quietly gargling with marbles in her mouth)…’

These are only two of the many gems found in Geoffrey McSkimming’s book.

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto is a lively and entrancing story unfolding in a small community within the bustle of the big city. I highly recommend this book for its characters, plot and writing style.

Published internationally, Geoffrey McSkimming is the author of the popular Cairo Jim chronicles and Jocelyn Osgood jaunts. He has also written Ogre in a Toga and Other Perverse Verses. His work can be found in various magazines and poetry anthologies. For more information about Geoffrey McSkimming, please visit him at www.geoffreymcskimming.com. Phyllis Wong has her own website which can be found here: www.phylliswong.com.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is now available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

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