“…today is a prickly day….Molly flexed her toes to let them know she would soon be depending on them. Everything was bound to be in a contrary way this morning; even her toes might misbehave”
Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars is a novel by Australian author and illustrator, Martine Murray. Molly lives in a house with her mama, Claudine the cat and Maudie the black-and-white collie dog. They live next to Ernest and Prudence Grimshaw, staunch, zipped-up, sneering people who are always complaining. Their latest gripe is about being woken by the early-morning crowing of mama and Milly’s rooster, the Gentleman.
Molly loves her mama, but she wishes she were a bit more normal, like her best friend, Ellen’s mama, who lives in a normal house, drives a normal car and puts apricot muesli bars in Ellen’s lunchbox. Molly’s mama collects wild herbs at dawn, rides a yellow bike with two seats and tries to solve the problem of the complainers in an original way. But something goes a bit wrong, and suddenly, Molly’s mama is a tree. The mama tree is beautiful and different (just like Molly’s mama), with strange and delicious fruit, but it doesn’t cook. And while eating as many chocolate cashew balls as she wants for dinner is nice, Molly longs for mama’s black-eyed pea autumn stew.
Molly is afraid to tell Ellen what has happened: Ellen might be horrified and might not want to be her friend. But when Pim Wilder comes along, Molly thinks he might be able to help: “Pim was like a walk in the woods at dusk: full of darkness and brightness both at once, he was restless and unfitting, pouncing on ideas and lifting them out of the dark. Pim’s world was the mysterious world of owls, stars, animals and earth”
Murray gives the reader a truly delightful tale and adorns her text with charming illustrations, and Imogen Stubbs has provided a sparkling cover. Molly, her mama and her friends have words of wisdom and insightful observations. Murray’s descriptive prose is often lovely: “The world was never completely still and quiet, but the night had a special sort of hushed activity. Things rustled and seemed hidden within the blackness, and it was as if dreams bloomed like shadows and escaped from their moorings and grew in momentous, invisible ways”. Ultimately, Molly learns: “Everyone has their own world: you, me, Pim Wilder, everyone. We’re all like little stars, shining as hard as we can, with our own particular kind of light”. A magical read. 4.5★s