Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City by Will Mabbitt
Published by Penguin Books Australia
For fans of the first Mabel Jones book, the new adventures of this fearless heroine have been hotly anticipated. For those who go straight to the second book, it may take a few chapters to work out what on earth is going on, such is the unique prose style of Will Mabbitt, and lively text design that seems to bounce off the page.
However, once accustomed to the book’s parallel universe and the lingo used by the eccentric narrator character, the fast paced action is guaranteed to draw the reader in.
The story begins with a rather menacing Witch Queen who plots to get Mabel Jones in her grasp by stealing her baby sister Maggie and holding her to ransom. Though she often dreams of her sister disappearing, Mabel realises that she can’t let any harm come to Maggie and embarks on a very dangerous adventure to find the Witch Queen’s lair in the Forbidden City.
Mabel is joined in her quest by a very odd pair of explorers, a pirate captain, and brave young Jarvis, the only character other than Mabel and Maggie who is not a talking animal. The motley crew set out for the Forbidden City seeking not only Maggie but also a vast and surprising treasure. Pursued by enemies at every turn, the layers of danger increase beyond belief.
Will Mabel Jones even make it to the Forbidden City and if she does, will she save Maggie and survive the Witch Queen’s evil body swap plan? And how will they get back to the human world? Mabbitt is sure to leave the reader guessing just enough to make sure they will stick around with Mabel Jones for another instalment.
Somewhere on the spectrum between The Witches, Alice in Wonderland and Choose your Own Adventure, Mabel Jones may well be the new hero young readers are yearning for since Harry Potter graduated Hogwarts.
With a burgeoning new series for mid-primary readers, Mabbitt and illustrator Ross Collins have definitely hit on something special… and just a little bit addictive. A swashbuckling adventure, to be enjoyed by girls and boys alike.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Will Mabbitt
Illustrator: Ross Collins
Title: Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: February 2016