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TRUNDLE'S QUEST by Allen Jones


From the Six Crowns series, volume 1

by Allen Jones & illustrated by Gary Chalk

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-200623-3
Publisher: Greenwillow

In a bizarre but good-natured genre mashup, two hedgehogs run around outer space fighting pirates and seeking talismans. Trundle is a lamplighter (and homebody) on a seemingly pre-industrial asteroid known for cabbage farms. Feisty stranger Esmeralda accosts the baffled Trundle and insists they go on a quest. Before he can refuse, pirates attack and the two hedgehogs flee. Running from the pirates, who are grizzled “pigs and rats and weasels and foxes,” Trundle and Esmeralda fall off the planet’s edge onto a windship—interplanetary transportation in this archipelago of asteroids requires wind vessels—and end up on a planet where enslaved animals labor in mines. They get into and out of various scrapes with derring-do and vigor; Trundle finds his enthusiasm along the way. They seek six legendary crowns that belonged to wise badgers in the past. The ramshackle science is vintage steampunk (outer space has air to breathe and breeze to power windships built like watercrafts; planetary gravity comes and goes). Jones has a nice knack for stringing words together at a bustling pace: “A sharp spitting spluttering crackling sound came to his ears.” Facile stereotypes about “Roamany” (Esmeralda’s exotic, wild, not-quite-moral culture) are a shame, but they are also in keeping with the steampunk feel. Readers who revel in collections and patterns will enjoy finding the crystal crown here and will look forward to the next five books that promise the next five crowns. (Fantasy. 7-10)