Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Wanted... Mud Blossom (1991)

In this conclusion to the Blossoms series, both Mud and Mad Mary are in a lot of trouble. Mud has been accused of eating the class hamster that Junior brought home from school, resulting in a full criminal trial. More seriously, Mad Mary has gone missing, leaving her cane and the bag she uses to carry animal carcasses behind on a trail in the woods, with no indication as to where she has gone. While Vern and Michael tease Junior, and Maggie and Ralphie sort out their romantic feelings, Vicky Blossom worries about what to wear to impress her own newest suitor, and Pap investigates Mary’s disappearance in the hopes of helping her out.

In some ways, this is the lightest of the five Blossom books. Even though Mad Mary is missing for much of the story, none of the Blossoms themselves are in true danger, and the events that take place surrounding the apparent loss of Junior’s hamster are more comical than dire, even if Junior takes them seriously. The mock trial the family stages for Mud involves everyone, including most of the previous books’ supporting characters, and though the trial is mainly a silly thing, it does highlight the varied relationships between the different characters and their feelings for each other.

In Kirkus’s 1991 review of this book, the reviewer noted that “there's no reason to single out a best Blossom book” and that turns out to be absolutely true. Each book holds its own as a strong single entity, but also works nicely as part of the tapestry of the larger series. The characters remain consistently loveable and well-developed throughout each of the stories, and each one receives the happy ending he or she deserves. This last book isn’t the most emotional of the series - I think A Blossom Promise, where Pap nearly dies, probably wins that title - but there is still something so satisfying about the way the family and their friends interact and come together in each other’s hours of great need. This book- and indeed, this entire series - is not to be missed.

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