The Key to Rondo is the first book of the Rondo (series) written by Australian author Jennifer Rowe, under the pseudonym Emily Rodda[1].


When Leo is given a family music box after his Great Aunt died, Mimi, Leo's cousin comes to stay. Mimi had always been annoying. When she finally got her wish to see the music box more closely, she dosen't follow the rules and turns the key of the Music box four times and two blue butterflies fly out. When Leo turns the key six times the evil Blue Queen arrives and steals Mimi's dog, Mutt by calling him by his real name - Mutt.the pair try to save Mutt but are too late. they call eachother by their names - Leo and Mimi. the queen tries to hypmotise them into joining her but fails.after she leaves them, they find a note saying not to trust the queen, take her hand, or give her your name. Later in the book the pair realise that the BLue Queen forces people to follow her by simply calling their real name. Mimi leaves to go to Rondo, the magical land and "world" inside the music box and Leo comes to. They go on a adventure to find Mimi's dog. They face troubles together, and learn everything including each other's secrets. They meet fearsome characters such as Hal, Conker, Spoiler, Tye, Bertha the supposedly 'famous' pig who help them on their journey. Mimi uses her imagination to create things in Rondo such as making a troll appear when they are crossing a bridge (Mimi has a fear of trolls) and also pretending to make Rondo have an earthquake in the end of the book when Leo and Mimi throw the fake key to Rondo in the fireplace. this key happens to have a legend that if the key is destroyed, so is Rondo. at the end of the book, Mimi and Leo realise that Hal is actually a realtive that got stuck in Rondo.


The sequel is called The Wizard of Rondo followed by the third and final book The Battle for Rondo, which has only been published in Australia.

Main characters

  • Leo Zifkak: (Also a Langlander)The owner of the musicbox. He and his cousin Mimi travel to Rondo and defeat the Blue Queen.
  • Mimi Langlander:Leo's cousin and owner of the key.
  • Mutt:Mimi's dog
  • Bertha:farmer Mc Donalds watchpig
  • Hal: (Formerly known as Henry Langlander) The wizard, and formerly Henry Langlander, who, with the help from Conker, Freda and Tye, took the Blue Queen's power away and ended the Dark Time. It is said that Hal lost his magical powers in that battle. He now acts, secretly, as a hero.
  • Conker: A dot-catcher, and one of Hal's old companions at the last battle, where he helped him with Freda and Tye to stop the Blue Queen's power and "reign".
  • Freda: Conker's talking duck, friend, companion and dot-catcher-companion. She can be dangerous, and she eats several things, like dots.
  • Tye: A mysterious woman and the last of the Terlemaine. She looks like a human-tiger. The Terlemaine was a great species and race of a people. The Blue Queen destroyed them.
  • Spoiler: (Also known as "Wicked" Uncle George)
  • The Blue Queen: A evil witch and queen, who no one knows the name of, and therefore calls her the Blue Queen. She had once taken over the world and land or Rondo. But her reign was ended by Hal the wizard, Conker, Freda and Tye. They, by that, also ended the Dark Time.


  • Dots: Small cruel creatures, that look like gingerbread men, who steal everything they can get. It's like a variant of our rat plague, just in Rondo.
  • Terlemaines: A currently destroyed and devastated race of unique people. They are strange-looking, like the body of a tiger with black markings on their yellowish skin. Tye is the last of them now.
  • Trolls: Trolls are also creatures that can be found in Rondo, or at least found under its bridge on the way to the Blue Queen's castle.
  • Dragons: Dragons are also creatures that lives in Rondo. Sometimes a dragon can be seen flying in the sky.
  • Talking animals: Talking animals are perhaps normal in Rondo. A lot of animal-characters that can talk appears in the series and book, which includes: Bertha the pig, Rufus the fox, Freda the duck etc.



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