Barbara's Reviews > Margaret and the Moth Tree

Margaret and the Moth Tree by Brit Trogen
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: abusive-relationships, animals, bullies, families, ncbla2013
Read in April, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I liked this title a lot more than I expected to. Poor Margaret loses her parents in a car wreck, and after living with her cousin and great-aunt, both of whom die, she is sent off to an orphanage by the Concerned Ladies Club. Margaret's delight in finding a home at the Hopetown Orphanage disappears once the true face of its proprietor, Miss Switch, is revealed. She sorts the children into groups according to their appearances, and consider some her pets, who do her bidding and benefit from her support, and others are called dregs, who do all the labor at the home. Miss Switch is one of the most cruel characters ever described, and she does her best to make life miserable for Margaret once Margaret tries to get help for the orphans. Eventually, Margaret makes friends with the moths that flutter in the forest near the orphanage and enlists their help in making sure Miss Switch gets what she deserves for her misdeeds. Since she has had much practice being quiet and learning to listen carefully, she and the moths can communicate with little trouble. Here's one of my favorite lines about what makes bullies such as Miss Switch and her minions behave as they do: "The truth about bullies is that every one of them has a sore spot that pokes and pinches at them, like a bad stomachache or a pesky thorn stuck in their side. That sore spot might be caused by loneliness, or jealousy, or even fear, but every single bully has one, and it never goes away no matter how much bullying they do" (p. 47). All the loose ends get tied up rather quickly at the end, and I would expect young readers to be delighted by Margaret's eventual triumph.
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