Bauble, Me and the Family Tree by Jenny Moore & Kirsten Eagan

Bauble, Me and the Family Tree is the story of Noel and his attempts to find out the truth about his family, particularly on his paternal side, as he researches his family tree for a school project. It is a heartwarming story of love, loss, misunderstandings and relationships and shows that families come in many different shapes and sizes.

The Story: When Noel’s little sister, Holly, (more commonly known as Bauble), sees Mummy kissing Santa Claus under the mistletoe in August, they convince themselves that Dad is still alive and Mum has been keeping his death a secret. Noel and Bauble’s attempts to solve the mystery of whether Dad is Father Christmas uncover more questions than answers – who is the mysterious ‘F’ who is sending Mum romantic postcards? Why is mum taking pictures of the butcher’s wife in a bikini? Who is the man in the newspaper clipping? Why has Mum suddenly started singing all the time?

After Bauble sees Mum kissing Father Christmas she and Noel turn detective and make a special notebook to record any evidence that they find to show that their father, Nick is still alive. Noel is convinced that a mysterious black box in Mum’s office holds vital clues but his attempts to find the key are fruitless.

The family is close knit and Mum, Noel and Bauble live next door to their gay uncles, Little Mike, Mum’s brother, and Big Mike, who often take on paternal roles such as taking the children to the optician. The story takes place between August and Christmas during which Noel and Bauble start piano lessons and Noel does a school project to trace his family tree while dreaming of doing the three legged race with Dad at the Winter Sports Day.

Noel’s confusion about Nick is intensified by the fact that he has never known his birth father. Bauble’s birth father is the only real father that Noel has known but he still imagines what it would be like to meet his real dad. Noel goes through a range of emotions based on his confusion with his parental situation and at night is haunted by dreams as he tries to make sense of everything. But things come to a head at The Winter Sports Day when Mum also springs another surprise on Noel and Bauble. 

Bauble, Me and the Family Tree is told from Noel’s point of view which allows us to feel each emotion and thought more deeply as we read. Throughout the story Jenny Moore balances strong emotions with humour and the story closes with Noel’s questions answered and a satisfying feel good ending that is not quite what Noel and Bauble had imagined! 

Age Range: 7+

Author: Jenny Moore / Cover illustration: Kiersten Eagan

Thank you to Maverick Books for sending a copy of Bauble, Me and the Family Tree. We really enjoyed reading it.

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