"TRAVEL FAR, PAY NO FARE" by Anne Lindbergh


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A muddled fantasy-cum-problem novel, narrated by Owen, 12, whose divorced mother plans to marry the widower of her late sister. Owen must not only leave Boston for rural Vermont but lose his status as man of the house and be permanently stuck with his odd nine-year-old cousin Parsley, who is no happier about the marriage than he is. Parsley has a magic bookmark, with which she can visit stories she's reading; she has brought back 14 felines (the Cheshire Cat, Puss in Boots, etc.) from her literary travels, hoping to aggravate her aunt's allergies and disrupt the wedding plans. After she lets Owen in on the secret, the two rescue imperiled animals from The Yearling, Little Women, and the National Geographic; the growing menagerie--plus Owen's mother's inept attempts to adjust to country life--pile chaos on confusion, culminating in a hairbreadth escape from the explosion of Krakatoa in The Twenty-One Balloons. This variant on time travel may appeal to those who know the classics alluded to (bibliographies included), but the logic is hurt by the unbelievable obtuseness of the adults. Not one of Lindbergh's best; this could use some of the zany humor she brought to Nobody's Orphan (1983).

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1992
Page count: 202pp
Publisher: HarperCollins