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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
World's Worst Mothers (The)
by Sabine Ludwig
Age Range: 12+
Bruno, Sophie and Emily chance upon details of a competition to find the world’s worst mother and are all eager to volunteer their own annoying mothers. What they aren’t quite prepared for is for their mothers to suddenly disappear and be replaced by a strange woman called ‘Aunt Anna’. At first, they enjoy being able to always have their favourite foods, never having to do their homework or tidy their rooms but after a while they begin to want their mothers back.
It is not long before the children discover that there is something odd about these ‘Aunt Annas’ so they join forces to find out where their real mothers have gone. After finding out that their mothers are attending a ‘Mother Improvement School’ run by the eccentric founder of Wohlfarth’s Toys and his crazy toymaker inventor Krushcke on the remote island of Nordfall, they need to find a way to rescue them.
This humorous tale is full of intrigue and adventure. Children will be able to identify with the many cringe-worthy ways that mothers can mortify their offspring. At first the story appears light-hearted, with the comical robotic “Aunt Annas”, who have been programmed as ‘perfect mothers’, but as time goes by it inevitably becomes clear that they cannot deal with every eventuality; neither does the ‘Improvement School’ go according to plan and the story takes on a more sinister turn.
German author Sabine Ludwig creates some bizarre scenarios and delightfully eccentric characters. With a fine translation by Siobhán Parkinson,The World’s Worst Mothers will appeal to the 9-11 age groups.