Review: Milton The Mighty by Emma Read
‘You and me, Mr Macey. Together we’ll clear this house of invaders.’
‘So, you’ll kill them?’
Felicity smoothed down her corduroy skirt.
‘Every. Last. One.’
At this point, Milton stopped having thoughts altogether. He went cross-eyed, eight different ways, and fainted.
(Milton The Mighty by Emma Read. P30.)
When spider Milton discovers he has been branded deadly by a popular internet story, he realises his life is in peril. His house human has a phobia of spiders and will go to any length to destroy them, which makes him an easy target for Felicity Thrubwell whose pest control business thrives on fear.
Milton’s only hope is to prove he is not a deadly spider. Luckily he has help. Milton’s eight-legged friends are on board, and so is the younger human Zoe. Together they set out to straighten out the facts.
But will that be enough to stop Felicity Thrubwell?
A story about a little spider with a big heart. Milton’s quest to clear his name and save spider-kind is the sort of animal tale I loved when I was small. Dick King-Smith was one of my favourite childhood authors, and this reminds me of his work. It has the same mix of charm and resilient characters, with up to date technology.
Milton’s campaign for justice is balanced with a whole load of creepy crawly fun.
The theme couldn’t be more relevant to our times. Milton has always had trouble from some humans, but a piece of viral internet content turns the whole world against him. And it’s just not true. Milton isn’t a killer spider. Emma Read resists an anti-internet stance. Instead the book shows that the internet can be used for good or bad and that we must trust our own judgement and knowledge.
Zoe is a wonderful character. She’s having trouble at school because she just refuses to cave into the anti-spider hype. She knows better. It is good to see a role model who sticks to her principles and is determined to make a change. Like Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has turned heads and opinions, Zoe knows that making a change isn’t about being big or special. It’s about being unafraid to get your message out.
This is also a book about friendship and the power of changing our habits. Fears and actions can be ingrained. It takes kindness and understanding – not anger – to help people change their ways.
A fantastic story with two heroes (a spider and a girl) whose resilience, determination and kindness make them perfect role-models to us all.
Thanks to Chicken House Books for my gifted copy. Opinions my own.