PORCUPINE STEW by Beverly Major


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A lifeless fantasy, based squarely and ponderously on a little boy's misunderstanding of his grandfather's words when they find a porcupine in a field. Grandpa says that the animal would ""make a fine porcupine stew"" but ""can throw his quills"" and might ""decorate"" a dog with them. So, that night, Thomas is called out of bed by the breeze and told to Follow the Dream to the Perpetuannual Porcupine Parade and Picnic, where all sorts of animals are assembled. There The Dream, in the person of an old white porcupine, ""decorates"" Rex Saint Bernard with a quill medal, an award for saving young porcupines from the farmer. Then The Dream wins a quill-throwing contest--he tosses the quills like arrows, executing an amazing ""double left-and-right backwards twist""--and The Dream's grandson Forever (""My porcupine [from] the hayfield,"" Thomas cries excitedly) wins in the junior division. Finally they all feast on porcupine stew, which contains ""sugar and spice and everything nice,"" but not porcupines. In the course of the outing, Thomas hears that ""It costs a Lot to follow The Dream,"" that ""all Dreams are old,"" and that ""To use a precious gift to follow The Dream is not to lose it."" But these Wise Sayings only give the proceedings a sententious ring, which Ingraham's still, dreamlike paintings make overmuch of.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow