Leo is a ten year old boy who is entrusted with his great aunts music box. He gets this important responsibility because he is quiet, cautious and always follows the rules. This particular music box comes with three important ones: Wind the box three times only. Never shut the box when the music is playing. Never move the box before the music stops. Although Leo would never break these rules his unconventional cousin Mimi will. The two reluctantly embark on a magical adventure and become unlikely heroes in a storybook world.
This book joins two children as they learn about loyalty, courage, friendship, and the importance of family. Each child finds their inner strength and figures out how to cure their loneliness. I liked this book because it shows the usefulness of following rules and the consequences when you don’t. However it also shows the value of thinking for yourself and not always listening to what others tell you. These are two opposite but worthwhile views that are really hard to balance in life. I also liked that the main characters didn’t fit the typical gender stereotypes that are thrust on children. Leo is a more timid, careful, and practical child while Mimi is headstrong, wild, and takes charge. I think it’s good for kids to see that these characteristics can fit a boy or a girl.
I would recommend this book for kids aged 7 to 1o. Some parts seem as if they’ll be scary, nothing scary ever happens. It is a fantasy book with talking animals and various familiar nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters. Many times it has the feeling of “Alice in Wonderland” where things are not of this world and a little out of control. I enjoyed it but kids who like certainty and order may not. Otherwise it was a wonderful book!