Rhys Darby, The Top Secret Interdimensional Notes of Buttons McGinty, Scholastic, October2019, 224 pp., RRP $15.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781775435587
This is a fun book for older reluctant readers, set out as the journal of 12-year-old Buttons McGinty whose parents have gone missing, presumably in another dimension! The story starts with Buttons heading through the portal in his evil school principal’s office to another realm in search of his parents. He pops out in Helmshirevilleland, where things are very different to Earth – there are two suns, which shine for two weeks nonstop and people need to wear eye masks to shut out the light so they can sleep at night.
Buttons negotiates these changes with the help of new friends and some coded messages he finds in various places. There’s a key to Morse Code at the back of the book so readers can decipher the messages too and perhaps write their own. Buttons likes to draw, so his writing is interspersed with loads of black and white drawings, maps and diagrams to help explain the story. When things get particularly dicey, Buttons draws flowers to calm himself down! He receives interdimensional mail from his friends back on Earth which helps to keep his spirits up and you’ve got to love how he never gives up hope of finding his parents.
This is the second book in the Buttons McGinty series by New Zealand author and illustrator Rhys Darby and includes a message from him encouraging readers to write their own journal about their real or imaginary adventures. Sounds like a good summer holiday project…
Reviewed by Carissa Mason