Saturday, 16 April 2011

M is for… Minty from Moondial

It is amazing how many children’s book characters have names that start with ‘M’. So many I could have chosen - Milly Molly Mandy is probably my ultimate ‘M’ but I have written about her before, so I’d decided upon Mildred Hubble, of Jill Murphy’s Worst Witch fame. But then today I found Helen Cresswell’s book ‘Moondial’ while our book-hunting, and remembered Minty…

Ah Moondial. The book was dramatised into a brilliantly spooky television series of the same name, shown in the UK in the late 80s. Atmospheric and haunting – the story revolves around teenager Araminta Cane (Minty), who is sent to stay with an aunt when her mother is seriously ill in hospital. The aunt lives in the long shadow of a stately home, and in its grounds Minty discovers a sundial which has the power to send her into the past. Stronger at night – she realises it is actually a moondial, and if she can work out the right way to use it then maybe she can free two children trapped centuries before, and even help her own mother.

Minty is brave, resourceful, and deals with things on her own, even big things like grief. She also has a good line in witty asides. I’m so happy to have found the book. If you have time, see below for a glimpse of the television series – the whole thing is on youtube, and it really is brilliant – perfect cast, perfect music score, and deliciously dark and unsettling, even 23 years later.



Moondial
Published: 1987
Author: Helen Cresswell

Spooky fact one: I rather like cemeteries, especially old ones like Highgate. I find them peaceful and interesting.
Spooky fact two: When I studied art and photography, an awful lot of my projects were based in cemeteries, come to think about it.
Spooky fact three: I dressed up in Pre-Raphaelite style dresses to do a gothic horror photo story in the local stately home for my art ‘A’ level.
Spooky fact four: The first horror film I watched was A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eleven. My older friend wouldn’t let me hide behind a cushion and I had nightmares for weeks – was too scared to sleep!
Spooky fact five: My worst nightmares when I was a little child featured the Smash Makes Mash robots and the green-armed ghost in the credits of Scooby Doo.

15 comments:

Paula Martin said...

Milly Molly Mandy was my absolute favourite when I was a kid, I LOVED her!

Jeanne said...

I love the name Minty. Guess I had better get familiar with some of these characters.

Kiernan said...

Thanks for adding another book to my "to-read" list. This one sounds similar to Elizabeth Goudge's "The Little White Horse."

Also, I love how alliterative your first paragraph is. :-)

catdownunder said...

That is a Cresswell I don't know at all. I'll have to hunt for it!

Eliza said...

I think I remember that tv series. I'll have to hunt that book down, another to add to my list!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ooh, let's go to Highgate the next time I'm there!!

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

Off I go to the book stores again...I love the first paragraph too. I reread it a couple of times. :)

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

Off I go to the book stores again...I love the first paragraph too. I reread it a couple of times. :)

Happy Frog and I said...

Another fascinating post, I do so love your facts at the end. I used to be scared of graveyards but I do find them quite restful now.

Tessa Conte said...

Never heard of the book, but it sounds like something I would have gobbled up when I was younger. I might still pick it up if I see it... ; )

Tessa.x

Tessa's Blurb - Dream. Imagine. Write.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

You know, I never believed that cemeteries could be spooky. I've walked through our city's many times and there's a feeling of peace. Until I went to the next city's cemetery and whoa! Talk about eeriness. There was an absence of peace. Not anger or evil, but strange calm that felt prickly. Lol. Don't know how to explain it since it took me by TOTAL surprise.

♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, Jayne, stop by my blog, I gave you an award.

B's Mom said...

I may add this one to my "to read" list also.

SugarScribes said...

I am really glad I read this post. I have never heard of this series. I did not have time to watch the entire you tube video, but I plan to come back to it. This sounds like a book I want to read with my daughter. I am going to suggest it to our Mothers/daughters book club. Thank you

Kit Courteney said...

I've not read this but I LOVED the series!

I'd forgotten all about it. Will find the book now... woo hoo!