Martha and Mitch

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

Helen Laycock’s short stories have been successful in many writing competitions, and her first attempt at play-writing secured her a shortlisting in Pint-Sized Plays in 2016. She has compiled three short story collections and is currently working on three more. Helen also writes flash fiction, and has been featured in The Best of CafeLit for the last four consecutive years, as well as having many pieces published online.
Her poetry has most recently appeared in Popshot Magazine, The Caterpillar and Full Moon and Foxglove (Three Drops Press). Her poems appear in several further anthologies, and, since winning the David St. John Writing Awards for Novice Poetry in 2006, her work has been acknowledged in many other competitions.
In addition, she has penned nine children's books for 8-12-year-olds.
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When my children were young, we had a playhouse in the garden (nothing like Martha's!). I could see it when I stood at 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.