twood has given us another book in the vein of Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. I wanted to write my whole review in the style of Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes, which is written largely with 'r' sounding words, in order to illustrate how wretched this is.
The plot of this kid's book follows Ramsay who escapes his vicious and depraved relatives, crawls through a rat-hole, and meets a girl named Rillah who has been abandoned by her criminally rich but distant family. They fall for each other, the end. The point? I'm not entirely sure.
I read the book aloud. My headache worsened. I gave the book to an elementary school teacher to read. She referred to it in terms not becoming of a teacher of young children.
The text feels more like a game-piece. The concept is stretched to breaking, the prose is overly redundant (even for a kid's book), and the diction is difficult and borders on incomprehensible to young kids. Sure, kids should be challenged to learn new words - and adults should be encouraged to read difficult books to children - but when every second word will require explanation, the function of the narrative breaks down. There are educational lessons to be found here, but most of them revolve around how to not write a kid's book.
Dusan Petricic's illustration fares somewhat better. His watercolours bring life to the story, helping to give the characters presence and ground the story.
I feel as though I'm being unnecessarily harsh with this book. While Atwood can spin an interesting adult yarn, she has, nonetheless, missed the mark on this one. Her name lends credibility to a manuscript, I'm sure, and this is one that the editors at Key Porter should have passed on.
Illustrated by Dusan Petricic (sorry, I couldn't figure out how to get those accents in html)
published by Key Porter Books