Martha and Mitch

Children - Adventure
188 Pages
Reviewed on 03/06/2018
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Author Biography

Helen Laycock's stories, successful in many competitions, appear in anthologies, magazines and in her own collections. Her first attempt at play-writing secured her a shortlisting in Pint-Sized Plays in 2016.
In 2018, she was commissioned as a lead writer at Visual Verse and her flash has featured in several editions of The Best of CafeLit. Pieces have been showcased in the Cabinet of Heed, Reflex Fiction and Lucent Dreaming – whose inaugural flash competition she won. She was longlisted in Mslexia’s 2019 competition and her work has been selected to appear in the Flash Flood Journal as part of National Flash Fiction Day.
She has penned nine children's books for 8-12-year-olds and is employed as a writer by an educational publisher.
Helen Laycock's poetry has appeared in several publications, most recently Popshot, Poems for Grenfell (Onslaught) and Full Moon and Foxglove (Three Drops Press). Her children's poetry has been twice published in The Caterpillar. She won the David St. John Writing Awards for Novice Poetry in 2006.



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When my children were young, we had a playhouse in the garden (nothing like Martha's!). I could see it from the kitchen sink. One morning, I looked through the window and saw that the windows of the playhouse had steamed up. 'What if someone has been secretly living in there?' I said to myself... and so the idea for Martha and Mitch evolved.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Martha and Mitch by Helen Laycock revolves around two children, Martha and Mitch, who lead contrasting lifestyles and meet under unusual circumstances. Martha is rich and lives at Lottery Lodge with her father and stepmother. Her father, Mr. Muggsworthy-Millions, is rich and is the maker of original toys. Martha has a wonderful playroom in the house, but no one to play with. Her father compensates for his absence from her life by giving her lavish gifts that would make any child envious. She has a beautifully designed room, a library full of great books, a magnificent garden and a playroom with all the latest inventions from her father’s factory. On the other hand, Mitch is an orphan who lives in Mrs Ariadne Scattypants’ orphanage. The day Mitch leaves the orphanage to make his way in the world outside is when Penelope, Martha’s stepmother, finds a way to get rid of Martha. Mitch and Martha find each other and, as the story progresses, readers see how they both escape the dangers of the outside world.

It is a beautifully written story woven with humor and excitement. I like the way the author blends the story of Mitch with that of Martha, despite them having different lifestyles. The twists and turns in the plot give it an element of surprise and fun and the descriptive narration makes the scenes vivid and bring the characters and the story alive to readers. Though there is Penelope, the evil step-mom, and the cruel world outside when Mitch leaves the orphanage, there is a thread of gentleness and kindness that runs through the plot. The author’s imagination, creativity, and originality is evident in the story and the book is good for storytelling both at home and in the classroom.