HOW I HUNTED THE LITTLE FELLOWS by Boris Zhitkov

HOW I HUNTED THE LITTLE FELLOWS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Grandmother's house is a model of a steamship, which looks absolutely real and is ""a dear memory"" to her, and which the little boy who tells this is forbidden to touch. But he becomes fascinated, then preoccupied, with the little fellows he imagines inhabit the ship; and he makes up all sorts of excuses so he'll be in a position to catch them moving about on deck. (He's afraid and needs the night light on; he has a fever and can't go out with her.) Finally on the day he plays sick and Grandmother is gone, he determines to overturn the ship and shake the little fellows out. No luck? They must be sitting on the benches inside, ""tucking their legs in under the boards and holding on with all their strength."" The outcome is inevitable--a wrecked and devastatingly empty ship, and a little boy sobbing with guilt when Grandmother returns. As that's the end of the story really, Zhitkov doesn't condescend to tell what happens next--though children who must be told can read in the appended biographical sketch of an unpublished sequel in which the little boy runs away in remorse and his grandmother forgives him. The story itself is a perceptive, unmanipulated picture of a child's single-minded secret passion. Bider's use of the term ""little fellows"" gives it a properly quaint but not too quaint distance, and Zelinsky's fine-line drawings, though they overdo the lighting effects to the point of hokiness, do convey the quiet but intense subjectivity of the experience.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1979
Publisher: Dodd, Mead