Monday 19 August 2019

My Name is NOT Peaseblossom

My Name is NOT Peaseblossom by Jackie French, (Angus & Robertson), 2019, Pb RRP  $14.50 ISBN: 9781460754788 Ebook 9781460709177

Reviewed by Pauline Hosking

This is the last in Jackie French’s Shakespeare series which comprises I am Juliet, Ophelia: Queen of Denmark and Third Witch.

Peaseblossom is an enterprising male fairy attendant of Titania, Queen of the Fairies. His wedding has been arranged to one of the tooth fairies, Floss. On midsummer’s eve Peaseblossom and Floss will drink the magic love potion and live happily ever after. 
That’s what’s supposed to happen. Peaseblossom (‘I prefer to be called Pete’) is a bit of a rebel. He’s adept at using TAP (time and place manipulation) and frequently jumps thousands of years into the future. He’s developed a taste for pizzas rather than dandelion salad and candied violets, especially the pizzas from the Leaning Tower of Pizza made by the mysteriously attractive Gaela.

The introduction of vampires adds a dramatic twist to Pete’s dilemma.

Pete is a likeable, subversive, hero who has the courage to deny the love potion and choose instead real love with all its ups and downs and uncertainties.
The theme of the book is free will, or the lack of it. Scattered among Pete’s adventures is a retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the play, the only characters who can do what they want are the royals: Theseus, the Amazon Queen, Oberon and Titania. 

Everyone else has to do what they are told and love who is chosen for them. Poor Hermia must marry the man her father prefers rather than the one she loves.
Students from Grade 6 upwards will enjoy such a light, rollicking tale. There are lots of giggle moments. The ageing fairy Puck is the source of much amusement.
It isn’t necessary to know the play well, although this will add to a reader’s enjoyment. Direct quotes are cunningly placed throughout in the text.


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