Delilah Dusticle has special powers. She can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters, Delilah can run up walls, reaching places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house, Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day, when a broken heart leads to her powers taking an expected turn.
This is the first book in a quirky middle grade fantasy series. The story entices the reader into a new and magical world that appeals to both kids and adults. The reader can explore how the ordinary in life can be extraordinarily overlooked, how friendship can help you overcome life’s difficulties and how accepting yourself is the biggest challenge of all.
Reading this book is a truly magical and uplifting experience that should not be missed. Read it today!
Critique: Delilah Dusticle blends whimsy and wonder into a story that will appeal to both young adults and the young at heart. It's a lively, ebullient adventure through and through! Also highly recommended is the spooky sequel, "Delilah Dusticle's Transylvanian Adventure" (9781497512054, $8.99 pbk / $2.99 Kindle), in which Delilah and the Dustbusters are invited to Transylvania, to cater for the Hallow Eve Ball - but events take a dramatic turn when Count Dracula has a unique request!
Delilah Dusticle combined all the components I love to see in a middle grade book – charm, friendship, fun and humour. A.J. York wrote what I would consider a near-perfect children’s story, with uplifting messages throughout.
The book is very short which for me suggests that it would be the kind of book fitting for a heart-warming end to the day. The plot went down a more unexpected route for me as I was expecting it to focus more on the heartbreak and not friendship. However, it was the friendship which gives the book a sweet, positive feel for younger readers – for me giving the impression that when you’re in a slump, friendship will help you find yourself and bring your mood back up.
The eccentric fantasy elements in Delilah Dusticle were fun and humorous. I loved the small moments when Delilah talked to the portrait and I also liked how her dust-eradicating powers seemed to be linked to how happy she was. A good mood meant good dusting and sadness and heartbreak stopped her powers from working.
Amongst the entertaining story was a selection of quirky illustrations which fit the book brilliantly. They’re great for keeping smiles on faces even through the sadder moments in Delilah’s story and really made this book a must-read children’s story.
Cracking open my next savory treat, I saw it was a children’s book and also nicely snack-sized, so I served up another plate of book goodness for a full meal and, well, I was pleasantly surprised! Now, before we get to the meat of the review, it’s time for THE GROUND RULES:
I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre.
I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.
So sit back and get ready, it’s time to go back in time to when you were a kid in elementary school and crack open Delilah Dusticle!
What else can I start with but ‘oh, the sweet taste of childhood’? Ms. York knows that taste and infuses it in every page. Look, there are a lot of great children’s books out there, but there are also a great many bad ones. They pander to children, talk down to them, or try to push to be too mature too quickly. They lose the sense of wonder that is so vital to being a child. Delilah Dusticle has no truck with such garbage!
Instead, this book embraces the remarkable things in the mundane world and the wonders that life has in store. It doesn’t pander or talk down to anyone and even approaches some fairly mature ideas about some important things that can happen to the young and the old alike, but it doesn’t push a child to go beyond their bounds and grow up too quickly. The characters are delightful and the heroine of the tale is charming and could be something of a role model, in my eyes. The ultimate message of the book is also something I believe in whole-heartedly (too bad the law of Anti-Spoiler prevents me from coming out with it, but it is an important part of the book so …. shhhh!).
It’s a short read at around 11,000 words, but that’s right up the alley of a young reader. The language is colorful but flows easily and the pacing is spot on. It reminded me fondly of the best books I read and had read to me as a child and I think would stand up well compared to any of those classics.
So, at the end of the meal, I was left sitting back in my chair, the glow of days past in my eyes and that warm feeling in my stomach that can only accompany a perfect meal. No matter how small in comparison to an adult novel, Delilah Dusticle delivers the perfect sized chunk of joy for its young readers.
FINAL VERDICT: ***** (Simply wonderful, what more can I say?) (less)