Maggot Moon

( 2 )


On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret.
And the devil.
And the Moon Man.

And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know.

But Standish Treadwell, who has different-colored eyes, who “can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright,” sees things ...

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Maggot Moon

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On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret.
And the devil.
And the Moon Man.

And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know.

But Standish Treadwell, who has different-colored eyes, who “can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright,” sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding.

And it’s big.

Winner of the 2013 Carnegie Medal
Winner of the 2012 Costa Book Award for Children's Book
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Just when it seems that there’s nothing new under the dystopian sun, Gardner (The Red Necklace) produces an original and unforgettable novel about a boy in a totalitarian society who risks everything in the name of friendship. Standish Treadwell narrates in short, fast-paced chapters, illustrated by theatrical designer/director Crouch with flipbook-style images of rats, flies, and maggots: creatures that represent the oppressive forces at work in the Motherland, a brutish government intent on being first to the moon, at whatever cost to its citizens. Fifteen-year-old Standish is dyslexic (as is the author), making him a target of bullies, which is the least of his problems. He lives with his resourceful grandfather in Zone Seven, but the Motherland has taken away his parents, as well as his best friend, Hector. The loss of his parents has created a hole Standish cannot fill; the disappearance of Hector leaves Standish unprotected at school and bereft of a friend who saw past Standish’s disability to recognize his intelligence. “I believe the best thing we have is our imagination,” Standish recalls Hector telling him, “and you have that in bucketloads.” Though Standish’s grandfather keeps the boy purposefully in the dark about many things, Standish figures out one of the government’s big secrets on his own, and he concocts a brave and personally risky plan to reveal it. Parts of the story are very hard to read—early on, a classmate is beaten to death by a teacher in the schoolyard—but the violence asks readers to consider what the world would be like if certain events in history had turned out differently. Gardner does a masterful job of portraying Standish’s dyslexia through the linguistic swerves of his narration, and although the ending is pure heartbreak, she leaves readers with a hopeful message about the power of one boy to stand up to evil. Ages 12–up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
This novel will just blow you away...Such a beautiful read...this certainly has the potential to become a modern classic.
—The Bookseller (U.K.)

Startlingly original, sophisticated and moving, MAGGOT MOON is out of this world.
—The Sunday Times (U.K)

Dazzling, chilling, breathtaking. A perfect book.
—Meg Rosoff

Gardner does a masterful job of portraying Standish’s dyslexia through the linguistic swerves of his narration, and although the ending is pure heartbreak, she leaves readers with a hopeful message about the power of one boy to stand up to evil
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This is alt-history second; first, it is an eerie, commanding drama.
—Booklist (starred review)

Standish’s tale has the terse, energetic tension of poetry; his phrases and sentences roll out with irony, tenderness, horror, or love, but always vividly...Most appealing of all, however, is Standish Treadwell himself: tender, incisive, brave, and determined, he takes a stand and treads well.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

Sally Gardner tells a story that is rich in drama and ideas.

Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
Standish Treadwell knows how to survive: keep your mouth shut, play dumb, and never let them see you cry. He lives in a world seemingly devoid of hope, a bleak and nightmarish post-war prison zone called Zone Seven, reserved for the Motherland's most despised citizens. Death, starvation, brutality, and betrayal are the norm. Standish and his wily, devoted grandfather manage to outfox the spies, the military police, and the Motherland itself to eke out a marginal existence. At the age of fifteen, Standish has a childlike worldview that endears him to others, including Hector, the son of a brilliant scientist who arrives with his family to hide in the zone. But when Hector ventures over a huge wall to retrieve a lost football, what he discovers leads the boys on a crash course with an evil empire determined to crush them and fool the entire world. Award-winning author Gardner paints an utterly original alternate reality in this dark and finely-crafted novel. Set in a fictional post-World War II England that fell to the Germans, the plot follows the terrible fate of those who attempt to stand up for the rights of others. Graphic scenes of violence are tempered by Standish's sweet naivete and tenderheartedness. Crouch's inventive illustrations of flies, rats, and maggots echo the pace of the plot while offering hope that good will conquer evil and the cycle of life will somehow continue. A chilling and haunting tale loaded with agony and heartbreak, Standish's story shows the value of community, the power of ideas, and the difference just one person can make for others and the world. Mature themes include graphic violence, profanity, and homosexuality. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In a grimly surreal alternate 1950s, 15-year-old Standish Treadwell leads a bleak life under a totalitarian government reminiscent of World War II Germany and Cold War Soviet Union. Struggling with an unspecified learning disability, he doesn't fit in-he dreams of a land of Croca-Colas and plans an imaginary mission to planet Juniper with his best friend, Hector-until Hector and his family are abruptly taken away because they know too much about the government's machinations. Standish's quirky first-person voice and fragmented storytelling gradually reveal that the government is intent on winning a propaganda-filled space race and will go to any length, including a massive hoax, to appear victorious. The story borders on allegory, and the setting is deliberately vague. It is implied that the details that led to this dystopian society are not important; the crucial point is that Standish becomes determined that he, an individual, can take action against a cruel and powerful regime. With brief chapters and short sentences, the prose appears deceptively simple, but the challenging subject matter makes for a highly cerebral reading experience. Stomach-churning illustrations of flies, rats, and maggots accompany the text, creating a parallel graphical narrative that emphasizes key moments in the plot. Though its harsh setting and brutal violence may not appeal to those seeking a happy ending, the story's Orwellian overtones will fuel much speculation and discussion among readers.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 8 Up—In Gardener's dystopian novel (Candlewick, 2013), 15-year old Standish Treadwell and his grandfather live in Zone Seven, the lowest-ranked district of the totalitarian government of the Motherland, and try to survive after Standish's parents disappear. The Motherland is obsessed with an upcoming moon landing which will establish their superiority over other countries. Meanwhile, food is scarce and everyone is watched constantly. Standish and his grandfather befriend a mysterious family that moves next door. Hector, the 15 year-old son, becomes Standish's protector when he's bullied at school. The boys find fun in an old soccer ball, build a spaceship in the attic, and wonder what lays on the forbidden other side of the big wall behind their houses. When they find out, their lives are irrevocably changed. Standish finds refuge from his bleak surroundings in a glorious imagination and the courage to make a final stand against the oppressive regime in which he lives in the end. Sixteen-year old English actor Robert Madge does an outstanding job portraying Standish in the first-person narration. Standish's voice is strong throughout, whether he is being taunted because he has trouble reading and writing (the author is dyslexic) or dreaming about his imaginary planet. Violent, dark, yet strangely hopeful, this audiobook will stay with listeners for a long time.—Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Standish Treadwell, 15, has lost parents, neighbors, best friend: All disappeared from Zone Seven, a post-war occupied territory, into the hellish clutches of the Motherland. Now a new horror approaches. Though it's unnamed, the Motherland's distinguishing features scream "Nazi Germany." Life in Zone Seven is a dreary round of familiar miseries. Standish and Hector spin fantasies about the far-off tantalizing consumer culture they glimpsed on television (now banned), but they lack a vision of the future beyond vague dreams of rescue. Food is scarce; surveillance constant. Loved ones vanish; teachers beat children to death while classmates look on. Abetting the powerful, residents inform on their neighbors for food. Kindness revealed is punished; solutions are final. Call it Auschwitz lite. Why the brutal state bothers to educate those, like Standish, labeled "impure" (his eyes are of different colors and he's dyslexic), is unclear. Despite short chapters and simple vocabulary and syntax, the detailed, sadistic violence makes this is a poor choice for younger readers, while oversimplified characters, a feeble setting and inauthentic science make it a tough sell for older ones. In this nuance- and complexity-free world, scarcity rules. Standish dreams of "ice-cream-colored Cadillacs" and drinking "Croca-Colas." Wealth-disparity, climate change and childhood obesity don't exist. Despite intentions, this tale never connects past to present, resulting in a book with a message but no resonance. (Speculative fiction. 13 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491549087
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,465,331
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Gardner is an award-winning author. As a student, she was branded “un-teachable” and expelled from various schools, until she was eventually diagnosed at the age of twelve as being severely dyslexic. She is now an avid spokesperson for dyslexia. “Dyslexia is like a Rubik’s Cube,” she says. “It takes time to work out how to deal with it, but once you do, it can be the most wonderful gift.” Sally Gardner lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2014

    Written in Standish Treadwell's perspective, Maggot Moon, writte

    Written in Standish Treadwell's perspective, Maggot Moon, written by Sally Gardner, shows a wonderfully exciting story on a distopian era. Similar to the author, Standish is dyslexic.  Regardless of his learning disadvantage, he was a hero. He lived in zone 7 with his 
    grand father and the area was a place where violence and depression was common. The book was in much like a 'Nazi-Germany-ish' type of setting. In school, Standish was beat and bullied by his teachers and classmates but escaped the bullying thanks to Hector, a friend who understood him. 
    Wanting to escape the cruel and harsh world he lives in, Standish and Hector imagine a more calm and enjoyable place where they can drink 'croca-cola' and ride in their sky blue colored Cadillac.  
    Maggot Moon,  A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book is written in one hundred exciting, short chapters. The story definitely shows the difference between reality and what is being shown. It brings spirit to the readers by its 'David and Goliath' type of story. The book is a quite simple yet very fascinating. Because some parts of the book contains strong language, I suggest this book to young adults, not so much on the "pre-teen young". 
    Sally Gardner, a London resident, with dyslexia, is an award winning author who has sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.K. She is a strong supporter of dyslexia. "It takes time to work out how to deal with it, but once you do, it can be the most wonderful gift." I believe that Maggot Moon, showing from Standish's story, shows  how even if you have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, or you are different from others, you still have the capability of accomplishing so much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014


    How many pages ?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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