The British author of The Return of the Twelves (1964) works through a convention of waning popularity (here at least) --...

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THE TWO FACES OF SILENUS

The British author of The Return of the Twelves (1964) works through a convention of waning popularity (here at least) -- the revivification of an ancient mythic creature who appears to receptive children. Here the demi-deity is Silenus, a satyr noted for thumping hooves and considerable bibbing. Rufus and Dru, in Rome for their scholar-father's conference, and their Italian friend Luigi are astounded when the stone head of Silenus decorating a fountain abruptly disappears. It is not long before his shaggy haunches are seen all over town. Parents are eventually made aware that strange matters are afoot and a marketplace is hyped to mad revels -- but to the children Silenus is a comforting and inspiring friend. At a final festival of dance and song Silenus is attacked by an arch enemy, Medusa and shadowy ""Killjoys,"" and the children are changed to animals for their safety (they rather enjoy this). Then Silenus is back at his fountain and the children are as before -- with bracing memories. The negative elements here are the relentlessly chirpy chatter and a downright offensive insularity (when Luigi brings Dru flowers, the father comments: ""They begin early""). However Mrs. Clarke is a whiz at magical transformations which she bends neatly into a plea for creative imagination and a taste for love and joy.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972