Stoop of Mastodon Meadow

Stoop of Mastodon MeadowStoop of Mastodon Meadow is the sequel to Stout Hearts & Whizzing Biscuits. Oliver’s father is now the American Ambassador to Patria, so Oliver and his family are living in the castle with Farnsworth and Rose. Oliver and Farnsworth begin the school year at the boys’ school, Mastodon Meadow, while Rose goes to Madame Mimi’s Well-Ordered School for Ill-Mannered Girls. But someone is publishing the Avenger, the newsletter of the secret and possibly malicious Brotherhood of the Tusk, and the kids are being framed for it! Can they solve the mystery before they get expelled?

Because there’s no need to introduce the world of Patria, this novel gets straight into the adventure and the mystery that needs to be solved. An old villain returns and new ones arise, while Oliver and Farnsworth deal with their first lessons in the Squire Formation Course and Rose auditions for the lead role of The Merry Milkmaid of the Glen. The world of Patria is still amusing, but the concerns of starting at a new school will be familiar to the reader.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid

Gender Stereotypes

The girls’ school studies French, cooking, and sewing. The boys’ school studies Greek, Latin, swordplay, tracking, and historical literature. When the boys do take a Manners class, the teacher refers to them as “Gentlemen” and teaches them how to talk to “Girls.” All of this bugs me on a fundamental level.

However, none of this prevents Princess Rose from being an active and important part of the story. She’s smart, brave, and willing to get her pink dresses dirty if necessary.

On the other hand, her classmates are turned into screaming ninnies by large rodents while the male teachers attempt to catch the beasts.

On the third hand, Rose and her friends are screaming only to create a distraction and are all more than capable of handling themselves, while one of the men gets completely hysterical.

So it’s really a mix.

Attitudes Toward School

Overall, doing well in school is looked down upon. This doesn’t stop Oliver from taking his studies seriously, and one of the new characters is quite a scholar. Still, the only class that most of the boys care about doing well in is the Squire Formation Course.

When the kids ask why the villain from the last book was made a teacher at Mastodon Meadow, the king replies that they wanted to prevent him from having “undue influence over youth.” Personally, having taught middle school, I found that funny; but some might find it insulting.


Mastodon Meadow is so named because of the Mastodon that used to roam there. However, the Patrians hunted them to extinction—it’s directly a result of their actions that the Mastodon are no more.

When You Assume…

Assuming you already know the answer can blind you to the facts right in front of you. The kids are convinced that they have the villain narrowed down to two, so they look for clues to support their ideas. In the end, it’s someone else completely.

And that someone else isn’t even a bad person. It’s someone acting out in frustration and anger, but fundamentally a good kid—something Oliver identifies with. And the people the kids don’t like? Well, maybe they aren’t all that bad—you might dislike someone for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t make that person bad.

Online Interaction

The Kingdom of Patria website provides further insight into Patria and the people who live there—such as a map, an interactive game, posts from the characters, and additional stories, including some audio stories. It’s kept up well, with new features being added regularly. The author also posts about some interesting issues in middle grade literature.

I’m not sure what I think of the idea that, from the get-go, boys and girls are split into different games (boys can sign up for The Knights of the Blue Sock while girls are offered Madame Mimi’s Well-Ordered School for Ill-Mannered Girls—there’s nothing that forbids girls from joining the Knights or boys from checking out the school, but it’s strongly implied). It mirrors the options of Patria, but…yeah. On a gut level I would have preferred something more inclusive. I still haven’t actually checked out the games yet, so I don’t know how they compare once you start playing.


Like the first in the series, this is an enjoyable and light read. I have some issues with the way boys and girls are split, but that’s mostly trappings and not inherent to the characters. I do appreciate the ending that defies expectations by not letting things be black and white—life is always more complex, and this is a gentle reminder of that. This book will appeal to kids ages 8 and up, precocious and reluctant readers alike.

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Stoop of Mastodon Meadow by Daniel McInerny
Published in 2012 by Trojan Tub Entertainment
Sequel to Stout Hearts & Whizzing Biscuits
Read on Kindle

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