Scatterbungle, by Edrei Cullen

Ella sat up with a start, catapulting the snoring pixie tucked under her chin across the bed. Her shoulders tingled and her hair flared in the dark, its honey colours shining strangely in the light of the moon. She grabbed the tips of her terribly pointy ears. They were burning up!
‘Gracious, blimey!’ yelled the pixie, as he landed upside down on the mattress, his striped stockings kicking up in the air. He slapped a tiny green hand across his mouth, suddenly mindful of all the other sleeping bodies in the quiet dormitory. Even though he was only the size of a pepper pot, he had a big voice!

Scatterbungle is the third adventure featuring Ella, the Clearheart. She’s at Hedgeberry, the magical school, but she knows there is something very wrong. For one thing, she keeps having dreadful nightmares that show her school in flames. And two of her giant friends have disappeared, and there’s been a prison breakout. Then there’s the Scatterbungle. It’s clearly going to be up to Ella to sort out what’s going on. But this is much bigger than just one person. Ella needs the help of friends if she is going to intervene in the battle between this world and the magical one. Her friends are willing, but in many cases don’t seem able to help. Ella must help them realise their abilities if together they are to have any chance of finally, once and for all, overcoming the dastardly Duke.

Scatterbungle, like early books in this series, is magical. Imagine going to school to learn how to catch dreams and extract memories. And taking a trip to somewhere on the other side of the world, by diving into the local stream. Some of Ella’s classmates can conjure fire, others can talk to animals, yet others care for and communicate with the trees. Most can fly. I want to go to this school! But as well as being a grand adventure, Scatterbungle reinforces the power of friendship. It also reminds that ability is one thing, but without confidence and self-belief, ability will never be enough. This is a classic good vs evil struggle and will be Ella’s most challenging adventure. There’s also themes around rites of passage, where Ella begins to challenge her father’s silence and to ask more questions about the death of her mother and brothers. Recommended for upper primary.

Scatterbungle (Flitterwig)

Scatterbungle, Edrei Cullen & Gregory Rogers
Scholastic Australia 2011

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

Flitterwig, by Edrei Cullen

Had the Troggle at the corner been watching, instead of trying to flick bubblegum off the end of his middle finger, he would have seen the pixie. It scrambled up from the gutter, scuttled along the ice-cold railings near the front door, and launched itself onto the windowsill of Number 26, Chester Row, Chelsea, London.
Only yesterday the Troggle had been a pixie himself. Now, because of all the sugar he’d eaten, he had Trogglified into a greasy-haired, moulding slime-ball of a creature, smelling of rotten turnips and rat poo. He cursed under his breath, and hopped about on one foot. Having successfully flicked the bugglegum off his finger, it seemed he had stepped on it, and was now having trouble unstacking it from the bottom of what looked like a hobnailed boot.
Abandoning the Magical Kingdom of Magus to join forces with the Grand Duke did not come without its drawbacks.

Ella has a lonely life. She has a horrid governess who gives every appearance of detesting her. Her mother and two brothers are dead, and her father refuses be in the same house as her. She is not allowed to go to school, her lessons being grudgingly provided by the governess, Mrs Dribbleton-Faucet. It seems Ella is being shielded from the rest of the world. So it’s quite a surprise to her to meet Dixon, a pixie emissary from the magical land of Magus. He appears when she dons her new glasses, and disappears when she takes them off. Ella is convinced that she has finally gone mad. But gradually she realises that all the elements of her difference make her special. So special in fact that only she – a human with magical blood – can save the kingdom of Magus.

Flitterwig is an exciting, warm and funny magical adventure. Ella has been isolated from the world for the world’s sake as much as for her own. Her father is consumed by guilt, her governess driven by a ungracious sense of duty, even her grandparents won’t touch her. The arrival of pixies and Troggles and all manner of magic is at the very least confusing. But Ella, called to her quest, responds bravely and imaginatively. Despite the inconsistent assistance of her emotionally-wobbly guide Dixon, she finds her way in a world that has been less than welcoming to her. There are a whole host of villains to overcome and many a riddle to decipher. Ella is a modest and engaging heroine, and her quest to save a magical kingdom helps her to find her place in her own world. Recommended for mid-primary readers.

Flitterwig, Edrei Cullen
Scholastic Press 2008