I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Battle for Rondo by Emily Rodda
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Published by Scholastic on 2009
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: , The Wizard of Rondo
Third and last in the Rondo fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around a dimension-jumping family. The focus is on the youngest two members of the Langlander family to have the care of the antique magical music box.
There are two themes in The Battle for Rondo: how walking in someone else’s shoes helps you to see the other side and how being a hero doesn’t mean you have to stop being you, all using third-person point-of-view.
Rodda references a wide range of fairy tales — you could make a game out of identifying them with the kids! — from Cinderella to Snow White and the Seven anythings to Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, the Wicked Queen of so many possibilities, the assorted tales of swans, and more. It makes for an interesting aside as I tried to figure out if there was indeed a tale to this one or that one.
That Spoiler is a busy fellow. Busy escaping, busy impersonating a woman, busy being a very bad boy, and with that one “minor” blip, he is consistent to the end.
It’s a tale of hair-raising adventure with dragons, witches, and Ogres — kid-level, of course — with some nice moral points and plenty of humor.
It’s that Spoiler, spoiling everything again. As for the Blue Queen, she’s raging over Rondo looking for something and destroying anything she touches.
It doesn’t help that the music box was running in our world, allowing the Blue Queen to further her plans to bring the Dark Time back to Rondo.
It will be up to Leo, Mimi, and the best witches and wizards in Rondo to take the Blue Queen down, if only they understood that prophecy.
Leo Zifkak inherited the box from his great-aunt Bethany. Suzanne and Tony are his parents. Mimi Langlander is his cousin who inherited the Key. Mutt is her scruffy little dog. Great-great-great-aunt Alice, a.k.a., Spark, who played harp and ran off to the circus, was a Langlander dear to the dragon.
…the world within the music box. Leo’s and Mimi’s friends there include Hal, who is actually their great-great-uncle Henry who escaped to Rondo when he “drowned” and ended the queen’s Dark Time; Tye the Terlamaine is a tiger woman; Conker and Freda, a duck, are dot-hunting partners; and, Bertha is, or was, a watch pig on Macdonald’s farm. And quite the celebrity.
The wizards are part of TUFFS — Team United for Farm Security — and include Wurzle, Whitebeard, Zillah, the Thorn Witch, Plum, No-Name, Pandora, Crabclaw who is a coast witch, and Bing. Rhoda is one of the rats on cloud watch. Marmaduke is a ginger cat and the TUFFS treasurer. Snoot, a rooster, is the son of Dawnbreaker, Guardian of the Flock of Macdonald, and Vice-President of TUFFS. Barbara, a sheep, is the secretary.
Suki is the Queen’s stepdaughter; her sister princesses include the boring Sweet, Pearl, Adora, Grace, Charity, Daisy, Dimples, Jewel, and the nasty-tempered Pretty who’s married to Claude. Ella is the good queen married to the Crystal King. Nanny cared for the princesses when they were younger. Clogg’s Shoe Emporium in Hobnob gave Pretty a lovely present.
Jim is the woodcutter who had been sent to kill Suki; he and Polly have a baby and live with her Grandma. Walter is Polly’s grandmother’s brother. Peg runs a camping store and turns into a bear at night. Spot is a dancing dog. Jolly runs the Black Sheep tavern and is Macdonald’s brother. Scribble is an unscrupulous reporter with the Rondo Rambler; Verity is with the Rondo Herald. Monsieur Rouge-et-Noir runs the art gallery.
Stitch is a tailor, Clogg is mayor of Hobnob, Bun is a baker and Patty is his wife, Candy Sweet runs a candy store, Simon Humble is married to Tilly, Moult is their little brown hen, Master Sadd is the gravedigger, and Bodelia Parker owns the antique shop.
Flitters are tiny green fairy-like creatures. A Safe Place is a sentient safe deposit box. The Tavern of No Return is not a safe place and is run by Grim and Misery Merk. Don’t trust them! Old Winkle has a junk shop. Marjorie is a large black crow with news; Boris and Nevermore had been her friends. Crumble is a pie seller. Officer Begood is a constable. Sir Clankalot is a mercenary knight. Pop sells balloons. Posy is a flower-seller. Brewer sells potions and ingredients. Gravis is an owl spy. Gaps are a quick way to travel around Rondo — Mimi reckons they’re the tiny spaces left blank by the Artist.
The Ogre of Cruelcliff feels he has to make up for his brother turning nice. Magic Fish can lead our friends to the Tideseer, who knows all. For a price she will answer three questions.
The Blue Queen is a wicked witch with new powers who wants to destroy her world. Spoiler is also known as Tom but is actually Wicked Uncle George Langlander, Hal’s brother, so another great-great-uncle, a.k.a., Dame Dally, who is being held prisoner. Sly is the wicked fox who took over Bertha’s job at the farm.
The Cover and Title
The cover is oranges and yellows with flames the backdrop for a fierce and angry dragon roaring out at us, yellow flames firing at us. The author’s name is at the top in white while the title is in a white with gray shadowing embossed gothic font.
The title is war, The Battle for Rondo.