Poet Kennedy's first fantasy-novel is an agglomerate--carried off, to a degree, by superior writing and incidental...

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THE OWLSTONE CROWN

Poet Kennedy's first fantasy-novel is an agglomerate--carried off, to a degree, by superior writing and incidental felicities. The Tibb twins--timid Timothy, near-blind ""Terrible Verity""--are toiling on the New Jersey parsnip farm of the mean, miserly Grimbles, orphaned by their grandparents' mysterious disappearance at sea, when ladybug-detective Lew turns up--to tell them that Gran and Gramp are ""prisoners of a dictator,"" and his army of stone owls, in Other Earth. Tim and Verity insist on following; stumble into the monthly, full-moon opening to Other Earth (a replica of New Jersey); meet up with Fardels the bear (so-called because ""that's what I'm always carrying--burdens--bundles of wood""); acquire Shelley Snail, poet and prophet, from water-woman Cressida Pond; and, bit by bit, learn what's going on--the innocent invention of owlstone, its nefarious use by dictator ""Raoul Owlstone"" and his consort Baroness Ratisha von Bad Radisch, their attempt to smother Other Earth's luminous, life-sustaining Moonflower vine. Since Gran and Gramp axe imprisoned along with the Moonflower, Tim, Verity & Co. have no place to go but up to Moonstone Mountain. Along the way to the rout of Raoul and Ratisha, owlstone-inventor Dr. Weedblossom is reproached by son Mustard for aiding Raoul: ""You shouldn't have worried just about Mom and me. You should have worried about the whole world."" (And before Raoul gives up: ""Think you won't have Raoul Owlstone to kick around any more? Think again."") Though sometimes moralistic and sometimes arch, this rigamarole is also speckled with verbal magic. ""The brown bear was licking off his nails, one at a time. Yellowish-white and curved they were, like shelled Brazil nuts."" Each of the characters has a voice, and a vernacular, of his or her own. And the story skips right along. Not imperative, not impossible.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1983

ISBN: 1932425357

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983

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