THE WAGON MAN by Arthur Crowley

THE WAGON MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This latest Crowley-Gusman collaboration, less tripping and playful than The Bogey Man (1978), will transfix its audience at once--with the twilight appearance of the sinister, mysterious Wagon Man from Tarry Town, ""feared by every parent."" The dour-looking old man speaks softly from a hilltop, and all the sleeping children hear him calling in their dreams: ""Oh, won't you come to Tarry Town?/ Where all we ever do is play/ Oh, come and stay a single day !"" And so they leave their beds, climb into his wagon, and go on to frolic ""Without a thought. . ./ Throughout an endless single day."" There we see them, from the Wagon Man's perch on a hilltop, as tiny figures dwarfed by giant poppies. How one little boy who remembers the past saves them all and foils the Wagon Man by correctly answering his riddles makes a satisfying end to the adventure--which Gusman's grainy pictures, invoking both dreams and a sturdy rural past, invest with further echoes of mystery and flim-flam wizardry. And the hush Crowley casts at the start will linger, for the Wagon Man still hovers beyond the trees: ""He never says a single word./ The Wagon Man just sits and waits.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin