Poetry Box November challenge: Bird poems
Masher, Fifi Colston, Penguin, 2022
Masher is a fictional chapter book written by Fifi Colston, which is about a 12 year old boy and a papier-mâché puppet coming to life. This book was full of mysteries and plot twists and was a wonderful read!
The plot of this story is written in a way that feels like you are inside of the story. Our main character, Freddie Foxworthy’s class is going to be making papier-mâché puppets, so when he arrives home from school that day, he decides to get a head-start on it by making one beforehand.
Freddie makes glue for his paper-mash, as he calls it, and eventually leaves it outside to dry. But when Masher, the neighbour’s dog, eats the paste and dies, Freddie is blamed and punished. When he accidentally knocks over Masher’s coffin, Freddie takes some ashes, and they mix with his puppet and turn… real. All throughout Masher, little sub-plots and mysteries are planted around which all tie in together wonderfully at the end. For just a normal kid, Freddie sure knows how to get action into his life, and create some really high-stakes scenes to occur in the book, which had me worried for him!
Masher and Freddie are the best of friends, because they believe in each other and understand one another. In my opinion, their relationship is very well written, because it is realistic and like the sort of friendships kids at school might have. Of course, when Masher eats the food that Freddie wants, things get a bit more hilarious than argumentative, which is always a great read to have. But even if Freddie and Masher never tell each other off, that doesn’t mean that Freddie is never in trouble — and usually, that’s because of Masher. Masher gets out of control at a talent show and lands Freddie in massive trouble, which ends in great plot twists I didn’t see coming!
This book doesn’t have a gigantic cast, but every character is memorable, 3-dimensional, and well-written. First, we have Freddie, your average 12-year old with a keen eye for artistic detail. Then, he makes Masher, because of his papier-mâché problems. Masher is like the dog that used to live, in the sense that he eats everything, and has a bit of a temper. But, in reality, Masher is not very scary at all and is sweet and lovable, in a growly bull-terrier sort of way. Then we have Ms Burns, who gets Freddie into trouble and hates everyone and everything possible, apart from her missing cat, Forrest, which she accuses Masher (the dog) of murdering. Then we have Mr and Mrs Foxworthy, Freddie’s parents. His dad is nice and a builder, who doesn’t really understand Freddie’s love and need for art, but appreciates and lets him do it. His mum, however, is sort of strict sometimes, and doesn’t like messes. She still tries her best to understand Freddie — and his sister, Dahlia. Dahlia is an 18 year old girl who loves 3d printing. You’d think since both siblings enjoy art, they would get along. But it’s hard for Freddie to do so, as Dahlia is barely ever at home, and is always out and about at different places.
This is a story with great characters, but it’s also greatly written on a whole. It’s very descriptive and goes into detail, but also doesn’t drone on and on about the appearances of things. The little mysteries that intertwine with the plot were subtly put in and the pieces click into place in unexpected ways. The illustrations were beautiful, but when there weren’t any on the pages, I could still see a very clear picture in my mind of what was going on. I remember that I finished the last half or more of the book in two days, and spent around an hour reading it because it was so enjoyable and exciting. Nothing got old, everything was new and fresh, and I really hope that Masher gets a sequel!
Masher was such an enjoyable, action book with a sprinkle of mystery to it. I think that anyone who is a fan of any genre can like it, because it’s just so original. I recommend this book to kids of ages 8+.
Ava, age 9, Y5, Pakuranga Heights School. My interests are reading, writing, poetry, gaming, playing piano, and both traditional and digital art. I like to write about fantasy, animals, and magic! Cool books I have read lately: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Little Tales of Hedgehog and Goat, and The Okay Witch.
Fifi Colston is a straight-up creative with her fingers in many arty pies. She is an award-winning junior-fiction novelist and illustrator of more than 30 children’s books including the bestselling Marvellous Marvin by Nadia Lim and the Little Yellow Digger stories by Peter Gilderdale. She is also a poet and a television presenter of arts and crafts — firstly on TVNZ’s ‘What Now’ and then ‘The Good Morning Show’. She has been creating World of Wearable Arts designs and has been a finalist and an award-winner many times over. She has also worked in the New Zealand TV and film industry as a costumier, puppet maker and illustrator and trainee scriptwriter. In between writing and creating, Fifi enjoys visiting schools and community groups, inspiring budding artists and writers through workshops in creative process.