Muddle Earth Review


Book Review by Mishal Faraz

Muddle Earth is a book that absolutely captivates you with its rib-tickling humour and fantastic narration. The adventure of young Joe, who’s been summoned to an alien planet as a warrior hero, has been one of the best summer reads for me – a befitting starter to yet another exciting season of Costa Reading Club!

Muddle Earth, published in 2003, is a children’s novel written by British author Paul Stewart and brilliantly illustrated by Chris Riddell.

The protagonist of the book is a school boy called Joe Jefferson. When the book opens we see Joe struggling to find some kind of exciting idea for his homework, an essay titled “My Amazing Adventure”. He thinks his mundane life has no inspiration to offer for his assignment and the fact that his family is so utterly noisy just adds to his struggle. He decides to take a walk with his dog, Henry. Little does he know that he’s just about to venture out on the biggest adventure of his life – an adventure which could fill a book!

While holding Henry’s leash, he’s whizzed off by his pet into a bush. Bewildering as it sounds, he finds himself in another world, a very bizarre world. He finds himself face to face with a three eyed, soft-hearted ogre, a rather sarcastic budgie and an inept wizard called Randalf. He finds out that he was summoned by Randalf as a warrior hero to Muddle Earth, as the new world is called.

So the adventure begins – Joe becomes Joe the Barbarian, outfitted with warrior garb which sounds just as intimidating: the Gloves of Determination, The Wellies of Power, the Helmet of Sarcasm and the Trident of Trickery! We see Joe battle ogres, fly dragons, face a combat with flying cupboards and make many new friends along the way.

In his final quest, we see Joe searching for the most sinister and malevolent fiend to have ever lived on Muddle Earth – Dr. Cuddles (Shhh! Don’t say his name out aloud!). Joe must defeat Dr. Cuddles to save Muddle Earth and also retrieve the Great Book of Spells, which has the spell to send him back to Earth because, unfortunately, Randalf doesn’t.

So will Joe be able to defeat the formidable Dr. Cuddles and redeem Muddle Earth? And most importantly, would he be able to get back home to his family? Answers that must be found out by reading this book because this book is an experience not to be missed out on.

Paul Stewart has a wacky sense of humour. You will find yourself chuckling to yourself while reading about the adventures of the unforgettable characters. The names Randalf and Joe will ring a bell for those who’ve read J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings. The parody counterparts of Gandalf and Frodo are just as entertaining. Stewart has this flair for humour which will not let you put the book down. And Chris Riddell’s illustrations help add an extra dimension to the book.

Muddle Earth is an exciting place to be in and once you are in it you would not want to leave!