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Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism Paperback – April 13, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

She might not be as photogenic as Harry Potter, but the charming Molly Moon makes up the difference in pluck in this somewhat similar story of a put-upon English orphan who finds that she has abilities beyond her wildest imagining.

Georgia Byng's debut novel has already swept to such success that it's due for translation in over 20 countries, with a movie version following close behind (produced by Harry Potter's David Heyman, natch). And with such a genuinely likeable (if straightforward) story and heroine, it's not hard to see why. Molly Moon struggles to survive in Hardwick House, an orphanage apparently run by and for caricatures--the beastly mistress Miss Adderstone and her bad-tempered pug, the muscly Gordon Boils (who tattooed "KING GORD" on the fingers of his fists with a compass and ink), creepy Roger Fibbin with his "sharp nose and cold, spying eyes." But as all wish-fulfillment adventures must go, Molly's life is changed one fateful day, as an arcane book draws out her special talent--she can hypnotize anybody to do anything she wants!

Byng makes good use of her otherwise mundane cast with plenty of wry asides (like Molly's fixation on the transformative promise of advertising), great running jokes (especially the metamorphosis of the orphanage's hard-boiled cook into a proud Italian capocuoco), some clever plot sleight-of-hand, and ample funny descriptions (as when Molly finds herself in the Royal Suite at the Waldorf: "She wasn't sure about the Jacuzzi. It was like ten monsters farting in her bath all at once."). (Ages 9 to 12) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-Orphan Molly Moon is unloved and unlovely. The other children pick on her, as do the mean-spirited women who run Hardwick House Orphanage. Molly occasionally escapes to the Briersville library to avoid them all. One day she finds a mysterious tome on hypnotism hidden in the stacks and discovers her real talent. With her newfound skill, she is able to change her luck and her life, getting out of the orphanage to win the local talent competition, and ending up in New York City, where she hypnotizes the entire city into making her a child star. However, evil Professor Nockman will stop at nothing to get the book. A flashy, holographic cover will attract readers. Most of the characters within begin as caricatures, either very good or (more often) very, very bad. Their outlandish adventures are reminiscent of those of the Baudelaire siblings in Lemony Snicket's popular "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books (HarperCollins) with some big differences. Molly Moon's story doesn't match their clever and elegant way with words, but it does have something they lack-a satisfying and very moral ending. There is no cliff-hanger here, as Molly atones for the conniving and devious use of her skills, goes back to the orphanage to make amends, and even uses her talents to turn the worst of the bad guys into good guys. Recommend this lengthy novel to fans of Lemony Snicket's books and similar adventures.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Molly Moon (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060514094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060514099
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Georgia Byng grew up outside Winchester, in England, near the river Itchen, with three naughty brothers and a sister. Her dad was nature loving and her mum was very encouraging and warm. The nearby country lane with its many cottages was somewhere Georgia first found out about characters, for it was teeming with them, and she used to interview them. Otherwise she would try to sell these neighbours things she had made. As a child she loved acting and so at 18 went to The Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After college she began to paint and write. She had always written poems and songs but now she started writing stories. Her first were in comic strip, a medium that she worked with for five years. The Sock Monsters was her first published book in 1995 - a comic strip story for 5 - 7 year olds. Georgia lives in a house in London full of old and new art, as her husband is the conceptual artist Marc Quinn. Marc keeps all sorts of strange things in the fridge - once he had to keep a Canadian frog in there as it was hibernating and had to be kept cold. They and their family, Tiger (17), Lucas (6) and Sky (2) love to travel, their favorite destination being India.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jewel in the Crown on March 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just bought this book yesterday and started reading it last night. I don't know exactly what made me buy it; maybe the flashy hypnotic cover, which I love. It's a very gripping book and I just couldn't put it down.
Molly Moon is an orphan at the Hardwick House orphanage, which is run by horrible Miss Adderstone. Miss Adderstone doesn't like Molly and Molly hates her. In fact, no one likes Molly, except her best (and only) friend, Rocky. Molly keeps getting into trouble and she thinks her life is horrible, until she finds "HYPNOTISM -- AN ANCIENT ART EXPLAINED" by Dr. Logan in a library. An American man wanted it, but he thought the librarian had lost it and Molly sneaks it away. She soon discovers she is a natural hypnotist and has many people under her control. Unfortunately, while she had had a big argument with Rocky and wasn't speaking to him, he had been adopted by some Americans who had come to visit the orphanage. So, after winning the Briersville Talent Competition, she takes her money and boards a plane to New York, with Miss Adderstone's pug, Petula, whom she had hypnotized into liking her. She checks into the most expensive room of the most expensive hotel in Manhattan and seeks fame and fortune. But the American man, Professor Nockman, is on her trail and he wishes to use her hypnotic powers to commit a huge bank robbery. Molly is very confused and she soon finds a life of fame and fortune isn't as good as it seems and she is determined to find a better one, by being herself. Molly faces many challenges and changes a lot. In the end, she no longer thinks her life is horrible; she finds it's very good.
It's amazing to see how Molly changes, as a person. A lot of changes also happen around her and Molly is faced with many surprises. In the end, she learns that she likes herself just the way she is and so do other people. This is a lovely book and a must-read for every booklover.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Bennett on May 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After seeing a huge display of "Molly Moon..." in the window of our local bookshop, we decided we should bring home a copy to pass the time until Potter V comes out. We were not at all disappointed with Molly and her adventures... Molly's character is written with just the right amount of "real kid" quality to make her believable. She's not perfect and she makes some questionable, but understandable, choices. She even can be a bit cruel. Her adventures are compelling... well, why wouldn't they be considering she finds a very helpful old book on hypnotism and then changes her life completely. We should all be so lucky. My husband wonders, of course, why books on orphans are so popular these days (counting Harry Potter and the Baudelaire children in Lemony Snicket's "Unfortunate Events" series). He, more than me, also found the book a little predictable (I read it first and was very annoyed that he guessed the twists before he had finished the 4th chapter). Our child is not quite 3 so we'll have to wait a few years before he'll give his opinion. All in all, Byng has created a story worth reading. I just wish that the book sellers would not compare her writing to J.K.Rowling. Leave that expectation behind and you will not be disappointed with this tale.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Karen Kirsch on July 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a middle school librarian, I find myself reading almost as much young adult fiction as adult fiction and non-fiction. I think my 6th and 7th graders will thoroughly enjoy this book. Molly is an unfortunate young lady...an orphan, a bit odd looking, unliked by everyone at the orphanage except for her friend Rocky. The orphanage is run by a group of mean-spirited adults who seem to despise children. Even the head-mistress's dog is cranky.
Molly's only safe haven is the town's library. During one visit she discovers a book on hypnotism, shelved incorrectly because the H has been torn off. She finds out that someone else has been searching for this book, the evil Professor Nockman. (Can a Professor be this evil?) He has travelled from the United States to obtain this book, and Molly overhears his
ranting and raving when the book is not available. She sneaks it out and now her adventure begins.
As she reads the book and perfects the art of hypnosis, her world is turned upside-down. Her many escapades are entertaining and cause you to cheer inside.
While orphans and evil adults seem to be a recurring theme in many books for young people, the author is successful in keeping one's interest. The twists and turns are exciting.
I think that most young people will be fascinated by this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary Chris Delcioppo on May 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I received an advance copy of Molly Moon and read it in 2 nights. The characters are easy to identify with and the story is entertaining. I teach 3rd grade and we have been reading this book as a read aloud. The kids love it and beg me to read more than one chapter at a time!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By impossible girl on July 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book after seeing it on a couple of recommended reading lists. People always say not to judge a book by its cover, but when I saw the cover on this book, I had to have it (you'll see what I mean...the holographic swirl patterns are pretty cool). I'm glad I grabbed it.
If you're read any of the other reviews for this book, you already know some basic facts. Molly is an orphan (we read a lot of orphan books, don't we?) who is not the smartest, prettiest, or most popular. In fact, most of the kids at the orphanage make fun of her, except for her good friend, Rocky.
When Molly finds an old book on hypnotism at the library and hears an ugly man screaming at the librarian about it, she knows this book must be special, so she takes it. Back at the orphanage, Molly reads the book and works on her hypnotism skills, eventually using them to leave the orphanage and have a grand adventure, which lands her in America.
Full of twists and turns, readers young and old alike will enjoy Molly's adventures, as she uses her hypnotism on all sorts of unsuspecting people. I enjoyed the book, although I did find a couple of parts to be rather predictable. Please don't compare this book to Harry Potter. Sure, it has the whole orphan-thing going for it, but the same can be said about the Lemony Snickett books. This book stands by itself and is actually a pretty good (and quick) read.
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