Feiwel & Friends. Mar. 2024. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250326935.
Gr 4 Up–A lively and tender story about language, archive, and family history, Millington’s debut will keep young readers on their toes. Ernest Brindle’s family is falling apart after the sudden disappearance of his mother, Beatrice. His siblings are squabbling, his father is unraveling, and he can’t figure out why his mother would have sold their beloved typewriter to a pawn shop, of all things, before running away. Enter Quinn, the precocious daughter of the pawnbroker. When Quinn and Ernest discover that Olivetti (the typewriter) is “alive” and can type for them every memory that has been recorded on its keys, they begin a race against time to discover anything and everything the Olivetti can recall about Beatrice. With the help of a friendly, if rather stereotypical, librarian and a Brazilian handyman, the Brindle family use Olivetti’s unique ability to scour Beatrice’s memories for clues to her whereabouts. This is a charming story filled with idiomatic expressions and wordplay. Formatted in alternating chapters between Ernest and Olivetti’s points of view, readers will be delighted by the book’s playfulness, as well as its bittersweet look at the power of memory, and how a family can be broken and then healed.
VERDICT A quirky, heartfelt novel recommended for general middle grade collections.

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