At the centre of the story My Mad Scientist Mummy is a curious little girl called Mabel who shadows her mum into her laboratory. She carries out her own observations and worries that her mummy might actually be mad. Through this journey of discovery, Mabel becomes a little scientist herself.
The little girl Mabel is named after reknowned female Australian scientist, Mabel Josephine Mackerras (1896 - 1971). The real life Mabel contributed greatly through her research and life's work in veterinary medicine and medical science as an entomologist, medical scientist, and parasitologist. She served in the Army Malaria Research Unit and made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort. Mabel Mackerras was also a mother who had suspended her professional career after the birth of her son and successfully re-entered the field of science with outstanding contributions. She fostered young scientists and is an inspiration and role model.
In a nutshell
A bit more detail
In a nutshell
One of the main characters of the story My Mad Scientist Mummy is a purple-haired female scientist called Madeline Mummy. With a doctoral degree in medical science, her name and academic title leads to the quirky abbreviation of "Dr Mad Mummy". Through humour, this character challenges the stereotype of a 21st century 'mad scientist'.
The literary trope in fiction of the 'mad scientist' is familiar to all: an older male wearing big glasses with an explosive hairstyle, geeky, unattractive, doing freaky, yet really interesting experiments. This kind of scientist-image is seen everywhere: TV, movies, kid's cartoons and stories. Despite this stereotype, most people respect the work and contributions scientists make without actually thinking that scientists are mentally unstable.
As a scientist herself, Rina Fu rides the storm in making use of this common phrase and takes it head-on to challenge the notion of a 'mad scientist' through her storybook My Mad Scientist Mummy. In addition to the play on the character's name, Madeline Mummy, The entire concept of the story is based on a little girl's (Mabel) worries about her scientist mummy being somewhat unbalanced.
Amongst her busy schedule of writing research funds applications, and running both experiments and a household, Dr Mummy strives to spend quality time with her daughter Mabel and brings her into the laboratory with the hope to educate, inspire, and share lives together.
A bit more detail
An adorable, friendly side-kick of Dr Mummy, Seto Fluffball is a competent laboratory assistant in the story My Mad Scientist Mummy. In case you are wondering, Seto is not a rat nor a guinea pig nor is he a teddy bear. He is a quokka.
Biologists will smile upon seeing Seto and his sister Nix in the Staff board of Black Swan Medical Research Institute. Why? Clue: Look up its scientific name. The quokka is a unique Australian animal and a relative to the kangaroo. It is a marsupial about the size of a cat, only found in Western Australia, where the author resides and the birth place of the story My Mad Scientist Mummy.
Seto's first contact with humans was when he was just a baby joey, almost six months old. He was rescued by a ranger from his mother's pouch as she was injured by a bicycle. He was cared for by 'little humans' who came to talk to him and played with him, while the 'big humans' fed him funny tasting milk and weighed him. He recalls the big human wearing a white lab coat and talked to him in human language. After his mother's recovery, she gave birth to his little sister Nix. Seto and Nix grew up together learning both the "Quok" (his native quokka tongue) and the human language.
He attended quokka primary school and with his passion for learning more science, he transferred to a human secondary school where he fostered his curiosity and creativity. His hard work has paid off when he was offered an apprenticeship at the Black Swan Medical Research Institute, under the wing of Dr Mummy.