What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

The Magnificent Mummy Maker
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. 90s junior fic - Grade 5 boy is jealous of older stepbrother in gifted program [s]

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message 1: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan (bluten) | 2 comments I read this 1998 or 1999 in my school library. I don’t know that the book was written or printed in Canada, but I did go to elementary school in Ontario, so there is a possibility the book is CanCon, if that helps.

A boy in fifth grade is having difficulty coping with his blended family, which now consists of his dad, his step-mom, and a step-brother in sixth grade. The step-brother is named Jake or Jason, I believe. There is also a baby sister in the mix. The step-brother, aside from being a year older than the MC, is also in a gifted program and gets a lot of attention from the adults, leaving the MC feeling inadequate.
Something potentially supernatural happens (I have a feeling this was a Halloween book, but I really can’t be sure) because eventually MC starts feeling more confident and doing well in school.

-A specific scene I remember: the family is gathered in the kitchen. They are talking about which colour they think represents each family member.
Stepmom, to dad: You remind me of the colour brown.
Dad, pretending to be offended: Brown? Am I really that boring?
Stepmom: No, I chose brown because I see you as strong, like an oak.
(I think the family also struggles to associate a colour with the MC, leaving him feeling more invisible and not-special).

-Tasked with a project about ancient Egypt, MC paints a long piece of brown craft paper to look like a mummy. He describes feeling like this idea just “came to him”. Everyone is very impressed with his effort.

-Towards the resolution of the book, the two boys work together to paint an old swing set.

This last bit I THINK came from this book, but I separate it because there’s a possibility I’m conflating it with another middle-grade story:
Throughout the story, the dad has been finishing the basement to turn it into a bedroom (the boys are currently sharing MC’s old room). MC has assumed all along that the bedroom will be for his new stepbrother, but is pleasantly surprised to find out in the end that this new space is actually for him.

Any help is appreciated. I know I read this book several times in Grades 4-5, so I'm kind of annoyed that I remember these specific details but not the actual plot.

message 2: by Mai (new)

Mai | 1254 comments This book that came up searching online looks very promising!! The Magnificent Mummy Maker by Elvira Woodruff.

message 3: by Megan (last edited Oct 13, 2020 08:25AM) (new) - added it

Megan (bluten) | 2 comments That cover looks so, so familiar! You are a genius!!!! I didn't think to look up the mummy aspect of it; I was searching for books about stepbrothers, gifted programs...I thought the bit about the paper mummy was a minor plot point at best.

I'm going to order a copy of the book to confirm, but I really think you're right about this! Thank you so much!!!!

Edit: After reading a few more summaries of the plot, I'm 100% convinced this is the book. I've spent years trying to find this book, and I'm so excited to read it again to see if it lives up to the hype of my ten-year-old imagination. I can't thank you enough!

message 4: by Mai (new)

Mai | 1254 comments I hope you enjoy reading it again!

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