A Gaggle of Goblins (Unseen World of Poppy Malone Series #1)


Goblins? Where's the proof?

Poppy Malone wasn't the kind of girl who saw goblins. That was what made the whole thing so strange. If it had been anyone else in her family—her parents or Will or Franny or even Rolly, who was only five—it would have made much more sense.

But they didn't go into the attic on that hot June afternoon, and Poppy did. And that made all the difference.

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A Gaggle of Goblins (Unseen World of Poppy Malone Series #1)

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Goblins? Where's the proof?

Poppy Malone wasn't the kind of girl who saw goblins. That was what made the whole thing so strange. If it had been anyone else in her family—her parents or Will or Franny or even Rolly, who was only five—it would have made much more sense.

But they didn't go into the attic on that hot June afternoon, and Poppy did. And that made all the difference.

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Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“A satisfying tale for skeptical tweens, who will eagerly await Poppy’s further adventures.”
The Horn Book
“Two worlds collide in this jaunty and easily digestible story of magic and domestic mayhem.”
Publishers Weekly
An itinerant family moves into a rambling old house in Austin, Tex., in this highly entertaining launch to Harper's (The Juliet Club) the Unseen World of Poppy Malone series. When minor mishaps immediately occur, the Malone parents, bumbling paranormal investigators, are convinced that a "Dark Presence" is haunting the house and vow to track it down (" ‘A Dark Presence, hard at work.' sighed happily. ‘We are going to have such fun,' "). Nine-year-old Poppy, a committed skeptic and aspiring scientist, believes there is a rational explanation, yet after she encounters a goblin in the attic, Poppy discovers it isn't the only prankster involved. Soon mayhem erupts—tapping noises keep everyone awake at night, computers falter, possessions disappear—and the replacement of the rambunctious youngest Malone, Rolly, with a (very polite) changeling has Poppy and her two remaining siblings embarking on a search for their missing brother. The book shines through the consistently amusing dynamics and dialogue among the Malones; Harper has abundant fun with the Malone parents' eccentricities, and kids will too. Readers will want more from this family. Ages 8–12. (May)
Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
With ghost-hunter parents, a snotty older sister, a sneaky twin brother and a downright obnoxious little brother, Poppy is the normal one in the family. This makes her discovery at her new house all the more surprising! After moving (yet again) so her parents can research paranormal phenomena, Poppy discovers a goblin in the attic, and she sets out to prove that he is real. Her parents take the odd noises and strange happenings as ghost invasion, but Poppy knows that this paranormal problem is more sinister when her usually rotten little brother suddenly seems polite, respectful and cheerful all the time. She suspects that the goblins have taken him and replaced him with a changeling. Now, Poppy must rescue her brother before it is too late! The story is well-paced and just suspenseful enough for young fantasy readers. Poppy's parents provide wonderful comic relief while leaving Poppy and her other siblings to be the responsible saviors of little Rolly. Readers too young for other goblin-infested series like "Fablehaven" will enjoy Poppy's lighter adventures in this first book of "The Unseen World of Poppy Malone" series. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The daughter of paranormal investigators, Poppy Malone comes face-to-face (or perhaps knee-to-face) with a wily, old gnome in the attic of her new home. Now she thinks she knows what's causing the general chaos throughout the house in the hours since they moved in-the electricity failing, doors collapsing, and food containers exploding. The premise for this fantasy, set in the steaming heat of a Texas summer, is a good one, but the narrative falls short in its believability, and the characterization of everyone except Poppy is weak. Integral to the story are her three siblings, yet readers learn little about them except for the fact that one is annoying, another lethargic, and the third wayward. Poppy is likable and, for the most part, exhibits the true characteristics of a girl on the cusp of 10 years old. Inexplicably, she continually doubts the solid evidence of a veritable company of gnomes, including numerous sightings and even conversations, despite the fact that her family traipses around the world looking to authenticate the existence of otherworldly creatures. It's also unbelievable that Poppy never tells her parents about the intruders, even after her incorrigible four-year-old brother is kidnapped by gnomes and replaced with one of their own. The rationale for this: not to upset Mrs. Malone. Poppy's mother is a professional ghost hunter; would she really be unnerved by a colony of gnomes? Students might be happy to follow Poppy on further adventures, but not before a generous dose of pragmatism makes its way into the story.—Margo Doble Schmidt, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A new series focuses on the adventures of four kids whose parents are professional paranormal investigators. Protagonist Poppy is logical and practical; her older sister Franny, vain; her older brother Will, lazy; and her younger brother Rolly, mischievous. They all find their folks exasperating, and Poppy finds her siblings so as well. Oddly, it is Poppy, the grounded one, who finds herself tracking down actual paranormal creatures: goblins. Their parents are distracted by exploring ley lines under their new home, preparing for an onslaught of vicious vampires chasing one of their colleagues and trying to make contact with a potential Dark Presence that Mrs. Malone senses in the house. These are all red herrings, for readers as well as Mr. and Mrs. Malone; the real story is the goblin troupe that kidnaps Rolly and leaves a goblin doppelganger in his place, after having observed the boy's extraordinary talent for getting into trouble. Poppy is likable and a good problem-solver, and the plot moves along swiftly. Unfortunately, the secondary characters, especially the siblings, are completely one-dimensional. Franny is so annoying that even reading about her becomes so; the same goes for Will. Rolly's tricks are funny, and he might make an interesting character if we get to know him a little better in subsequent stories. Needs a little more development all around. (Fantasy. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061996092
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 894,844
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Harper grew up in Texas and lives in New York City.

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